Grape volumes coming into the US from Peru were quite heavy in November and December. “In the last few weeks, volumes have moderated,” says John Paap with Jac. Vandenberg. “However, steady availability should continue until the end of February, early March.” Whereas volumes out of Peru have moderated, Chile’s production is ramping up. “While light volumes out of Chile started early January, the country’s early window has pretty much been absorbed by Peru.” However, Chilean volumes are expected to increase in February and the country will continue shipping into the US market until early May.
Peru’s grape harvest in the north has been finalized and moved south while Chile is now harvesting in its northern grape regions. The country is expecting very good quality this season. “The wet winter helped with fertility and size,” mentioned Paap. “There is a lot of optimism for a good crop.” Although Chile’s harvest is reporting delays of about seven days, the impact seems to be limited due to Peru being active in the market as well.
New premium label for grapes
New for Jac. Vandenberg this season is the availability of grapes under their premium label SUNRAYS®. “The SUNRAYS® brand was launched with mandarins in June 2017 and because of the success, we decided to expand into grapes as well,” commented Paap. Grapes are the company’s leading commodity with over 70 years experience in marketing and shipping.
“Because of our experience in the grape category, we feel confident we are able to select only the best grapes for the SUNRAYS® label. We are very intentional with the varieties and quality that goes into this label and only grapes that meet the required specs make it into the SUNRAYS® bags,” he added. The direction is towards packing proprietary varieties, but certain high-quality traditional varieties are being selected as well. “We are working with growers that have placed resources in successfully growing the best quality varieties.”
Store display with SUNRAYS® grapes.
Although only launched in the market recently, reception from retailers has been very positive. “Prior to the launch of our consumer facing brand, retailers had shared with us the difficulty of dealing with so many different exporter brands and different bags on the shelves each week. This label provides a consistent brand in terms of appearance and quality.” In addition to uniformity on the shelf, Paap is excited that SUNRAYS® is more than just a brand. For every bag packed, a donation is made to Save the Children and since June 2017, the company has been able to donate over $250,000. “It’s more than just a brand, it's snacking with a positive impact.”