Peru plays a substantial role in table grape production as well as exports and the country’s role continues to grow. “This year, we’re seeing 10 to 11% production growth from last year, which is a significant increase,” says Michael DuPuis with Divine Flavor. In total, the country is expected to produce 71.5 million boxes of grapes this season. “This is a safe estimate, after the initial 73 million boxes was adjusted down a bit.”
Divine Flavor's Dennis Hay and Rafael Cilloniz of Campo Del Sur.
Peru’s production is increasing as growers are trying to extend the season by getting two cuts off the vines. In addition, new acreage continues to come into production. More land is being developed for table grapes and a lot of existing acreage is undergoing a transition from old varieties to new ones that yield better and have a higher flavor. The increase on green seedless varieties is very noticeable (roughly a 23% increase from 2021/2022), with Sweet Globe being the predominant variety out of Peru this season. Production of red and black table grapes is staying stable, but green is showing a growing trend. “It is very important for us to be able to offer high-quality and high-flavor varieties,” commented DuPuis. “The grapes are shipped from Peru to New Jersey and need to have the ability to spend three to four weeks on the water and still arrive in excellent condition.”
“Our growers in Peru understand the importance of flavor very well. They are very disciplined when it comes to harvesting at the right moment without sacrificing size or flavor for a hot market, and in addition to this way of growing, they work in line with Divine Flavor’s pillars, just like our growers in Mexico do,” said DuPuis. “We’ve been working with Ecosac out of Northern Peru for the last six seasons and they are an outstanding grower-partner that we’re moving into the organic direction with. Last season we started with our first shipments of organic Autumncrisp, and after much success, we will continue with organic offerings of this variety this season." In the southern part of the country, in Ica, Divine Flavor partners with Campo Del Sur, another grower that understands high quality and consistency drive repeat purchases.
Antonio Escobar with Divine Flavor and Estefany Lopez with Ecosac.
Speaking with grape category manager of Divine Flavor, Antonio Escobar, he mentions the industry will be facing more competition in the coming years and buyers will be faced with a lot of options, but he notes which variables will be important to focus on. “As the grape category has grown exponentially, it is important for our company to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the varieties to grow and sell,” said Escobar. “The key to our success over the years has relied on growing the best flavored varieties, as well as working with passionate growers who share the same values we have as growers.”
Divine Flavor received the first containers with grapes from Peru in October, from the North. From there, production goes down to Ica before the season wraps up around mid-April.
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