Vanguard expecting continued growth and market diversification with Peruvian grape deal
Multinational fruit supplier Vanguard International says it is expecting continued growth and marketing diversification from its Peruvian grape deal, which will this year see the start of a program into Europe.
In comments to FreshFruitPortal.com, Chief Business Development Officer Dirk Winkelmann said that overall market conditions are seeing supply "match very neatly with demand" this season.
While a significant portion of the company's Peruvian grape production is expected to go to the U.S. and Canada, Winkelmann said it has very positive programs into Asia, Mexico and Latin America.
"We will start a program into Europe this year as well," said Manuel Yzaga, President Vanguard Peru.
"There is worldwide growing demand for our new varieties, and we have carefully curated our crops to fit demand from mid-December through mid-April."
Vanguard's Peruvian grape production has grown substantially this season year-on-year. CEO Craig Stauffer expects the company to be the largest grower-exporter of patented varieties this year in the Andean country’s southern region of Ica.
"Our current production estimates are over 3 million cartons (8.2kg equivalents), including 1.5 million green seedless varieties, over 1.5 million red seedless varieties, and the balance black seedless varieties," he said.
The optimistic production forecasts are thanks in part to "ideal" growing conditions, with daytime temperatures averaging 26C/80F and evening temperatures averaging 13C/56F.
"The vines are healthy with excellent bud break," he said. "Barring any unforeseen weather events, we will be able to provide an exceptional array of high-quality great eating new varieties. Our production will tie in perfection with the finish of the crop in Northern Peru right up through the start of the Mexican deal."
Stauffer said there continues to be an "enormous stream" of new varieties coming onto the market, with Vanguard offering a wide portfolio. The company is also working to increase its volume of certified organic offerings, particularly on its green seedless varieties.
"It’s difficult to pinpoint where the strongest growth is coming from because it varies from market to market. Certainly, there is continued growth in organics, as well as several of the green seedless varieties from Asia."
Vanguard anticipates some changes in terms of export procedures this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, such as Korea agreeing to have Peru's phytosanitary watchdog Senasa do the pre-clearance inspections on their behalf.
"This cooperation from our export markets speaks very highly of how the Peruvian grower community has responded as a whole to the pandemic. Countries generally do not set up trade agreements with specific growers, rather with specific countries," Stauffer said.
Another change this season is increased labor costs for growers, with pruning costs alone having increased an estimated 40 percent over the last two months.