sun World Autumn Crisp

The popularity of varieties like Autumn Crisp is growing

Sun World International says a solid brand presence and strengthened receiver partnerships have led to a record grape sales volume this season.

The growing popularity of proprietary varieties like Midnight Beauty and Autumncrisp have helped lift export volumes by 40 per cent year-on-year over the past three years.

Brand awareness has grown considerably in key markets like Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong and South Korea thanks to below-the-line marketing in the form of store events, demonstrations and sampling, as well as through social media.

“Despite a difficult grape season, we continue to achieve our strategic export goals,” said vice president of international sales and marketing Julie Escobar. “Our partnerships with receivers and new customers have helped us achieve record shipping numbers, and retail penetration continues to be strengthened.”

Sun World noted that investment in new packing line infrastructure has allowed the company to explore new packaging models that drive sales in Asian markets, as well as combat high labour costs associated with re-packing in-country.

The company will continue to hire new personnel in Asia to account for its growing business abroad. “We expect to see a significant increase in our business, as well as improve our overall supply chain and quality control of our fruit to a much stronger level in 2019,” said Escobar.

Sun World said it would continue its efforts on positioning black Adora Seedless grapes as a late season black variety in 2019.