Vanguard International shares the future of black grapes

June 02 , 2023

By Dirk Winkelmann, President of Vanguard Direct

As new green varietals continue to expand the grape market year over year, black grapes have become a rarer sight on retail shelves due to their decreasing demand from buyers. As breeders aim to maximize returns and predict demands, black grape focus has been on a downward trajectory. As green and red grapes take top-shelf billing, we wanted to pose the question: what lies in the future for the black grape?

Black grapes are a beautiful color product – sweet, known for their dark blue-purple color, a delicious and healthy snack, and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.

If you were a child of the 70s and 80s you might recall black grapes being the decor around a food platter, or the grapes with a bitter seed throughout. But in recent decades, new varieties of black grapes were developed with a beautiful appearance profile, crunch and tasting experience. So where did demand go?

Black grapes are not widely accepted in retail, simply due to low demand and sales. They are not frequently purchased by consumers, and therefore, breeders have not focused on them in the same way they have with green and red grapes. Additionally, with the ongoing process of testing and experimenting new grape varieties, the classics are sometimes overlooked.

Black grapes are good for both growers and consumers as they are easy to grow, they transport well and are a healthy snack. Despite this, marketing budgets are often not allocated to black grapes, which creates challenges to entering and positioning within the retail market.

Looking ahead, we feel there is room in the grape category for black grapes, especially the new and exciting varieties recently developed by various breeders and predict there is a future where black grapes make a resurgence.

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