Ripe and ready-to-eat is a concept that one would normally associate with avocados and mangoes, where a great deal of success has been achieved in the past.
Now, a joint initiative between a South African stonefruit exporter and Spinneys Stores in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has extended this concept – with much positive feedback – to stonefruit.
The South African company is Fruits Unlimited, which believes that the concept will further increase its sales of stonefruit in the UAE.
In the meantime the South African industry, in association with exporters, is also conducting studies to see to what extent the ripe-and-ready concept could also be applied in Europe.
South Africa has been working for some years to improve the eating quality of its stonefruit in Europe and has had particular success with its offering of plums. Sources say it is far too early to speculate whether ripe-and-ready South African stonefruit could be offered to European consumers.
Significantly, though, the ripe and ready-to-eat stonefruit at Spinneys are now directly supplied from South Africa and not via Europe as in the past.
“The Fruits Unlimited ripe-and-ready stonefruit programme, which is now in its second year, is gaining tremendous traction in the UAE market,” said Jaco van Lill of Fruits Unlimited. “We are proud to be associated with a leading retailer such as Spinneys and a project that will drive food safety and transparency to new levels of excellence, not only in the UAE, but in all markets we service.”
Fruits Unlimited continues to build on its partnership with Spinneys, and was joined recently by GlobalGAP to launch a traceability pilot in all Spinneys stores in the UAE. “The project has been long in the making, but was launched this week as part of the annual Spinneys South African stonefruit promotion.”
Spinneys recently joined GlobalGAP as a retail member, and launched a progressive pilot project whereby every Fruits Unlimited stonefruit producer’s GGN (GlobalGap Number) was placed on the product, enabling the consumer to see exactly where their product had come from.
According to Fruits Unlimited, Spinneys and GlobalGAP plan to roll out this system over all produce categories – making the supply chain completely transparent to the consumer.
“Traditionally traceability has never received much attention in the Middle East, and Spinneys is setting the bar much higher with this initiative.”