Table grape supply chain quality 2017-2021 (TG17002)
What’s it all about?
Beginning at the tail-end of 2017, this project is supporting growers and retailers in adopting collaborative quality standards and practices for Australian table grapes. Its quality-focused activities prioritise the supply of grapes of optimal eating quality right from the start of the season, and so contribute to consumer confidence, repeat purchasing, and increased demand.
Its work involves measuring maturity of fruit pre-harvest, at retail and at export, and identifying maturity specifications that will enable the industry to meet market and consumer demands. It also has a component that provides funding for the Australian Table Grape Association to support project activities.
Maturity testing is now in its second year. Grapes were sampled from supermarket shelves as well as from vineyards in Queensland and Sunraysia to test for maturity. The results have been emailed to table grape growers on a weekly basis to provide feedback.
A series of visits to major retailers was also undertaken, to improve understanding between suppliers and retailers. The meetings were successful, so a follow up workshop was held for retailers in Sydney at the end of October 2018 to build on the results. Three major retailers sent representatives who had the opportunity to meet with leading growers and hear about the results of maturity testing so far. They were also educated about minimum maturity standards for table grapes in WA.
There will be another meeting in a year’s time to further develop the relationships and discuss maturity standard development.
- Download slides from the presentation given at the retailer workshop on improving consumer satisfaction to increase table grape sales.
- Download slides about a maturity standard in WA that aims to minimise the volume of sour grapes offered for sale in that state.
With on-farm and in-store maturity assessments having taken place during the latest season (see the last Hortlink update below), the project team is now busy analysing the data. This information will be used to create initial quality/maturity specifications for some varieties ahead of the 2018/19 season. These specifications will be developed in consultation with industry and growers, marketers and retailers will be encouraged to voluntarily adopt them. Look out for more information in industry channels as it becomes available.
If you missed it, you can find a recap of the project’s initial work and goals from p32 of the April-June 2018 edition of The Vine magazine.
Look out for a feature on the project’s work in the next issue of the levy-funded The Vine magazine, which is set to be released during April and made available here. As a quick snapshot of activity…
- The project kicked off with on-farm monitoring in Queensland and in the Sunraysia during late 2017 to track the maturity of different table grape varieties in different locations, with sampling continuing after harvest to help determine optimal harvest time. Costa also undertook sampling of two of its proprietary varieties on three farms, to feed into the project team’s analysis.
- There was also sampling of fruit from retailer shelves to check for Brix, acid and size, to gain information on the quality of grapes at the retail level. Non-grower-identifying maturity data was also supplied by Woolworths.
- The information will be fed into fact-based maturity standards and help the project team track consumer liking improvements as the project progresses.
The project team is working to set interim specifications for select varieties in consultation with industry, ahead of the 2018/19 season, which growers, marketers and retailers will be encouraged to adopt.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Table Grape Fund