The first-ever edition of the Global Grape Summit which took place in the U.K. capital on Wednesday was a roaring success, receiving widespread praise from attendees and drawing a large international crowd of important industry actors.
Co-located with the London Produce Show and Conference taking place this week at Grosvenor House Hotel, the commercially-focused event featured lively and engaging panel sessions and presentations on a myriad of pressing issues for the table grape industry worldwide.
Over 300 key industry players from six continents were present at the Global Grape Summit, demonstrating the importance of an event like this to bring decision-makers together to analyze ways to boost grape consumption and move the industry forward.
The introduction of numerous new varieties into the industry over recent years was a major topic that arose throughout the day, with leading breeders, retailers, suppliers, growers and marketers all providing their insights on the opportunities and challenges this situation has created.
Other issues that were addressed during the course of the event included strategies for success in an industry seeing a rapid reduction of supply gaps in key markets, what modern day table grape retailers and consumers are looking for, and how the sector will likely evolve over coming years.
The event was co-organized by Produce Business magazine and Yentzen Group, the parent company of FreshFruitPortal.com, PortalFruticola.com and ChinaFruitPortal.com.
"It’s an extraordinary opportunity," said Jim Prevor, president and editor-in-chief of Produce Business magazine. "You have people from six continents in every facet of the supply chain, from production through distribution through retail, all gathering together to build a better industry. We’re very pleased and proud to have been part of it and to have had this opportunity to establish the Global Grape Summit."
Gustavo Yentzen, general manager of Yentzen Group, commented: "It's fantastic to have so many important people from such a large number of countries here today for the first-ever Global Grape Summit. We are delighted to have created this platform for international industry collaboration and are thrilled with the feedback we have received from attendees."
As the event concluded and guests made their way to the London Produce Show and Conference's Opening Cocktail Reception in the Great Room of Grosvenor House, FreshFruitPortal.com spoke with a few of the attendees to hear their thoughts on the day.
Andro Vidal, commercial manager of Chile-based fruit grower-exporter Subsole, said: "It was very interesting to understand the reality of the industry as a global concept. It gave me a more consolidated impression about what is happening in the table grape industry."
Geoff Green, head of grapes at South Africa-headquartered fruit marketer Capespan, said: "It was a wonderful first event. I thought the speakers were great and the topics were good.
"The nice thing was there were no boring sessions - I’ve attended many of these things over the years and there are always some sessions where you think ‘that’s not very relevant’, but here the sessions were well-planned and they were all interesting."
Andreas Schindler, CEO of Germany-based fruit importer-exporter Don Limón, said: "It’s very professional. There are very sophisticated market actors here - it’s a high-level meeting. I think it’s probably a model for other parts of the produce industry to combine all these members of the industry from the breeder, the grower, the exporter, the importer and the retailer.
"It’s a strong hub of communication and I would say our produce business is most successful when communication works. I will take home a lot of inspiration, not only for grapes but for a lot of other products our company has."
Below is a small selection of photos from the day. Stay tuned for a series of more in-depth articles next week.