The Italian grape campaign is currently in full swing. It is producing the volumes necessary to meets the needs of the European market, while maintaining high and consistent quality. In the long term, the European consumer is obviously tending towards seedless varieties. This is confirmed by the management of AFRU Group Vertriebs LLC, one of the leading suppliers in Europe.
Red Globe grapes, with seeds
The internationally active trading company, with its headquarters in Munich, is quite satisfied with the market development for grapes so far. The good availability since the start of the season at the beginning of June and the excellent fruit quality have had a corresponding effect on pricing. "Seedless goods are usually about twice as expensive as seeded grapes. At the beginning of the season, all grapes are usually a tad more expensive than at this time of year, when increased volumes are brought to market."
Grape mix of the proprietary brand Pepino
Clear trend towards seedless goods
In recent years, the needs of European consumers have gradually shifted from seeded to seedless grapes, observes the AGRU Group. "We now market mainly seedless varieties in export, whether red, light or blue. But Vittoria and Italia grapes with seeds are also well received in the export market," it says. The latter arrived this week for the first time: "If the weather plays along and there is a nice, long autumn, Italia grapes with a winter pack can even be sold until Christmas. But the sooner it snows and is cold, the sooner the Italian grape campaign ends and the citrus fruits come to the fore. As a rule, our strongest sales months are between August and October,"
Blue seeded Pallieri grapes
Tough competition on the grape market
Parallel to the Italian grape campaign, batches from Spain, Greece and Turkey are also entering the market. According to the AFRU Group, Italy continues to lead the way despite the tough competition. "Greece has invested heavily in grape cultivation and is pushing into the market with low prices. In the meantime, however, a lot has also happened in Italy: new cultivation techniques and varieties have been tried out, for example. And not without success: because this year's fruit quality is usually unique, with large calibers and a good taste".
Seedless Luisa of the Dore private label
Corona inhibits packaging innovations
The Italian grape industry is also particularly innovative when it comes to packaging. Seedless goods for the European retail trade are still mainly packed in 500g plastic trays, while the larger calibers are offered in 5kg cartons. "But plastic will disappear in the medium term: The first cardboard trays for grapes are already available, but the Corona crisis has slowed down their development somewhat. The European food retail industry has preferred plastic for the first time because it is still the safest packaging solution in terms of hygiene. However, the changeover to alternative solutions will inevitably take place."
Seedless Autumn Giant
"Stay on the ball"
With its established own brands Pepino Gold and Dore, the AFRU Group has acquired a high recognition value in European retail. Under its own labels, a wide range of Italian fruit is offered to European wholesalers and retailers - mainly in Germany and Scandinavia. Grapes, however, are still one of the company's most important sales pillars. "If we continue to invest, I look forward to the future of the Italian grape industry with confidence. The market requirements of our food retail customers are increasing, so we have to stay on the ball."