Capespan is one of the biggest suppliers of grapes from the Southern Hemisphere. “The overseas season starts as follows: first come Brazil, Peru and South Africa, together with Namibia. Then come Chile and India, followed by Egypt and Morocco from the Northern Hemisphere. For all these countries, we at Capespan play a major role for the import in Europe,” says Ben Taieb, product manager grapes at Capespan. “In addition to these origins, supplies are also planned from various other countries where projects are being developed.”
“Although supply from Brazil has remained moderate this season, we’re seeing an increase in the supply from Peru, both in seedless grapes and Red Globe.” At the moment (mid-November), the first South African and Namibian grapes are picked. This season, a promising quality and production is expected in both countries. When it comes to bought volumes, Europe remains the most important market, but Asia and other markets are also growing in terms of sales.
Six million boxes
Capespan imports about six million boxes of overseas grapes that are available for continental Europe (the mainland). The volume marketed by Capespan, has increased in recent years, and for the coming years this trend is expected to continue. “Beyond the natural growth in South Africa/Namibia, Peru and India are the big growing countries,” Ben says.
Namibia and South Africa
Capespan is supplied to by growers, but also has its own productions in Namibia and South Africa. “In Namibia, we have a total of 456 hectares, working together with the Namibia Grape Company. This year, production there is estimated at 1.8 million boxes. The latest varieties from this country are available, including Arra, IFG and Sheehan. At the eight Capespan production companies in South Africa, 468 hectares were planted, and this season a production of around 1.5 million boxes is expected. Many new varieties are available this year, including Arra, IFG varieties (including Cotton Candy, Candy Hearts, Sweet Globe, Sweet Celebration) and Sheehan (Timco, Ivory, Krissy, Melody and Magenta).
Seedless coloured increases
The share of seedless increases every years. “The big trend is that coloured, black and red, are gaining market share. In South Africa and Namibia, white seedless grapes are still biggest, but there is a clear increase in seedless with other colours, and that increase continues. The coloured seedless varieties are often very attractive in terms of flavour. Hence, a lot is planted in the producing countries.” Ben is of the opinion that as import companies, they should still get the consumer involved. “The idea is that they get to know and appreciate the flavours and qualities, in order to speed up the process.”
Chile and India
“When it comes to the other producing countries, good reports are coming in from Chile and India at the moment, both in terms of volumes and quality. In Chile it’s a lot of guesswork, in light of the situation with El Niño,” the trader explains. “At the moment, I can only conclude that we’re looking at a good supply and a qualitatively good season for all origins. We hope the consumer will buy more grapes in the ‘more expensive’ months and the periods with large overseas volumes, like December and January. Because a good consumption has a direct influence on the availability and freshness of the products,” he concludes.