Polar Fresh to double Blanc Seedless grape volumes by 2019

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Polar Fresh to double Blanc Seedless grape volumes by 2019

With volumes of its late grape variety Blanc Seedless set for a major boost, Chile-headquartered Polar Fresh Group has plans to greatly expand its supermarket programs worldwide.

Polar Fresh Group representatives Andrés Kuznar (left) and Cristhian Sáez

Polar Fresh Group representatives Andrés Kuznar (left) and Cristhian Sáez

The organization holds exclusive global marketing rights for the variety, except for within the U.S. where growers may sell domestically but not export.

Blanc Seedless was developed by U.S. breeder Anton Caratan and is now marketed by Polar Fresh under the Pristine brand.

At last week's London Produce Show, company representative Andrés Kuznar said new opportunities would arise as production volumes rapidly increased from current levels.

"We are right now at 4.5 million kilos - which is coming mainly from Chile, but also Peru, the U.S., Spain and Australia - and we think that given the new plantings we have at the moment, by 2019 we will have almost 10 million kilos," Kuznar told www.freshfruitportal.com.

"The idea is to have a supply for nine months of the year, so that any supermarket in the world can have this variety almost continuously from at least one of the growing regions."

Key markets for the variety include the U.S., China, the Middle East and Europe, and Kuznar said a push was now being made to enter the U.K. as well.

"It's a very important market for us to get into. We have done some trials with [the supermarket] Morrison's, and I think next year we are going to have a good program with them," Kuznar said, adding Spain would be a key supplier to the U.K.

"It's a good moment now for us to present ourselves in England and show what we have."

Kuznar also highlighted that one of the Blanc Seedless' key market points was that it was a late variety and could therefore fill gaps in markets.

"In both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere we always arrive in a window where there’s not too much fruit," he said.

The variety is crunchy and sweet with a zesty taste, and is also said to have an excellent shelf life.

The grapes typically fetch relatively high prices, according to the representative, in part as they are costly to produce due to the amount of care they need throughout the year.

Along with grapes, Polar Fresh sells fruits including apples, pears, kiwifruit and cherries, with marketing volumes totalling 12 million boxes annually across all categories.

Headline photo: Blanc Seedless grapes, courtesy of Polar Fresh Group


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