New Chilean Grape Varieties Promise a Much-Needed Boost
The Chilean table grape industry faces challenges and opportunities in the current export season.
Although exports reached 8.9 million 8.2 kg boxes in the fifth week of the season, this figure represents a decrease of 5% compared to the same period last year.
However, the industry has seen success in promoting new varietal replacements.
Estimates show that 53% of the export volume will be from new table grape varieties. Exports of new lines of red, white and black grapes are expected to reach 18.4 million, 13.6 million and 4.4 million boxes, respectively.
New varieties increase, but total volume will decline
Despite the success of new varieties, exports to the United States are down 8% year-over-year, primarily due to drier-than-expected weather, with drought conditions leading to a drop in export volume.
Peru’s strong presence in the U.S. market is due to geographic proximity and faster shipments, so Peruvian grapes do not need to be fumigated with methyl bromide.
Because Chile’s exports must travel a greater distance, growers are implementing harvesting and packing practices to reduce dehydration and premature deterioration of the fruit.
Chile is promoting a “Systems Approach” that would allow the fruit to arrive without being fumigated, improving the quality of the fruit upon arrival and its competitiveness in the market.
A challenging year for Chilean grapes
Current estimates indicate that Chile will ship almost 36 million boxes of table grapes to North America, 13.8 million to Asia and 9.2 million to Europe, representing a 13.2% decrease in exports compared to the previous season.
However, red varieties such as Timco and Crimson are expected to be especially popular in the second part of the season, and Divine Flavor is strategically working with Chilean farmers to grow high-flavor grapes.
In this highly competitive environment, table grape quality and flavor are essential to market advantage, so it remains to be seen whether the varietal replacement will generate positive results in the following seasons and lead to a rebound in the export market.
Sources: Fresh Fruit Portal, Food News Latam, Fresh Fruit Portal, Fresh Plaza, Fresh Fruit Portal