Table grape supply chain quality 2017-2021 (TG17002)
What was it all about?
Now concluded, this project’s outcomes continue to assist the Australian table grape industry in the consistent supply of high-quality, great-tasting fruit that satisfies consumer expectations. Its work involved monitoring table grape maturity and other quality indicators on farm, at retail and at export packing, and providing this information to the industry throughout each season from 2017/18 to 2019/20.
Using data from the first two seasons of maturity monitoring – which revealed that immature fruit was being harvested and damaging consumer confidence – the team worked with key industry stakeholders to develop new minimum maturity standards for public grape varieties including Crimson Seedless, Flame Seedless, Menindee Seedless, Red Globe and Thompson Seedless. The Australian Table Grape Association announced the new minimum maturity standards in October 2019, and they were partially adopted for the 2019/20 season, ahead of full adoption in 2020/21. The standards rely on Brix, which is used to determine the sugar content in fruit. While the standards may be seasonally adjusted as needed, at the time of their release, Crimson, Flame, Red Globe and Thompson varieties were to have at least 80 per cent of fruit in a representative sample to have at least 16°Brix. Meanwhile, Menindee grapes were to have at least 80 per cent of fruit in a representative sample with at least 15.5°Brix.
In the 2019/20 season, with just the partial implementation of the new standards, consumer acceptability at retail for table grapes was at 79 per cent – the highest score in five years, and up 20 per cent from the 2016/17 (the year before the project started). This was a promising result, as consumers need to be confident of a good eating experience when purchasing grapes to encourage repeat purchase. This is particularly important due to the fruit’s short season, with any re-purchase delay having an impact on demand, sales and price – and market research in 2017 revealed that after a negative eating experience, consumers will delay purchase for about six weeks, and require another two to three purchases before their loyalty is restored.
The projects work has highlighted the need for growers to resist the temptation to harvest immature fruit in order to capture higher market prices early in the season, and instead wait until fruit is mature to satisfy consumer preferences for taste and sweetness, therefore securing increased sales through repeat purchasing behaviour.
These fact sheets share information for Australian table grape testing, in line with the new standards:
- Fact sheet: On-Farm Pre-Harvest Testing of Table Grapes
- Fact sheet: On-Farm Testing of Table Grapes during Picking
- Fact sheet: Table Grape Maturity Testing in a Distribution Centre
Read these articles about the project, published in industry magazine The Vine:
- Table grape quality improvements underway, April-June 2018 edition
- Science based maturity standards on track for table grapes, July-September 2018 edition
- Table grape minimum maturity changes imminent, July-September 2019 edition
- A win for consumers and growers, February-April 2020 edition
978 0 7341 4625 0
This project was funded through the Hort Innovation Table Grape Fund using the table grape R&D levy and contributions from the Australian Government
Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2020. The Final Research Report (in part or as a whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation, except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).