The UK market has long been a favourite for Egyptian fresh produce exporters, not least for strawberries, stonefruit and grapes. British retailers’ desire to deliver new varieties and products to their consumers meshes well with Egyptian companies’ commitment to varietal development and quality.
Exporter Pico Modern Agriculture, one of US breeder Sun World’s exclusive licensees and growers in Egypt, is currently promoting its new range of grapes, developed uniquely to meet the early- and late-season demands of the UK market. New varieties include Sable, Midnight Beauty and Red Superior, while Scarlotta apparently remains in the trial stage. New stonefruit varieties – Supech 15, Sunect 21 and Suplum 25 and 41 – are equally in the pipeline.
“Pico is committed to delivering the best-quality stonefruit and grapes to our clients and to introducing new varieties that can be grown in Egypt,” said the company’s Alaa Diab. “We are in continuous communication with Sun World on new varieties and also communicate with the supermarkets to find out which trends and demands they foresee, so that we can plan our production accordingly.”
The UK supermarkets’ demanding reputation when it comes to quality standards is well deserved, according to Ahmed El-Hodaiby of Egyptian exporter Trade Waves, but the returns are normally feasible for producers capable of meeting such requirements. As such, he says, the UK has been one of the best destinations for Egyptian grapes for several years.
“Trade Waves has been focusing on the UK market for the last five years,” says El-Hodaiby, “and has made great strides in terms of securing market share. Growing grapes under plastic, improving the cold-chain performance and introducing new varieties – these have all contributed to stabilising Trade Waves’ presence in the UK market.” Trade Waves will be shipping the Prime grape variety to the UK market for the first time this season, having recently been named as an authorised licensed grower.
Exporter Belco supplies the UK market with a huge assortment of products, including grapes, spring onions, green beans, snow peas, strawberries and chillies. According to Amr El-Beltagy, all these products are currently performing well and the company is always looking to grow sales each year.
“Along with Germany and the Netherlands, the UK is one of our key markets,” he says. “Its importance comes from its considerable size and robust economy. Our focus is on the high-end retailers, which demand the highest quality standards that we at Belco are proud to achieve.”