After a near-decade hiatus, new opportunities emerge in the US market for plums from South Africa

Black Pearl 2

Black Pearl 2

Oppy has said that it is planning to ”continue energising” the South African plums category with a successful second season.

In 2022, the first load of South African plums in eight years was sent to North America, an opportunity that emerged when US authorities tightened 2021 Chilean plum import regulations following pest detection.

The group advised its retail partners to substitute with fruit from South Africa where it had recently enlisted Sila Louw to manage its operations.

“Now in its second season, Oppy is more than doubling its volume,” said Louw. “We’re also really thrilled to hold a 25-30 per cent share of what’s coming into the North American market.”

Plums first arrived at the end of January and will continue to load through the first week of May; which will bring prominent varieties like Ruby Sun, Black Pearl, African Delight and Angeleno, and then introduce volumes of newcomers Midnight Gold, Red Phoenix, Honey Punch, Flavor Fall, Fall Fiesta and September Yummy.

Louw noted that Oppy builds programmes around particular varieties that can withstand the cold treatment protocol required by the USDA.

“There is much more to explore and develop in South Africa,” said senior vice-president of categories and marketing James Milne.

”As consumers continue to demand global options and retailers look to new countries for alternatives and fresh items, Oppy will be there with exciting and contemporary offerings,”

Oppy added that, going into the immediate future, it was looking toward expanding its portfolio and building upon nectarine trials from this season.