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Completed project

Minimum maturity standards adoption across the table grape supply chain (TG19004)

Key research provider: Australian Table Grape Association
Publication date: Tuesday, January 9, 2024

What was it all about?

From 2020 to 2023, this investment solidified the adoption of minimum maturity standards (MMS) across the table grape industry. The project team worked closely with growers to build their capacity and understanding of how to improve their table grape quality and with wholesalers and supermarkets to drive their accountability along the supply chain.

Over the last three years, this project helped consistently increase consumer acceptability of Australian table grapes, leading to increased demand and consumption. Specific objectives for this project were to:

  • Drive accountability across all key stakeholders (growers, wholesalers, major supermarkets) to ensure the new MMS are fully implemented and adopted, resulting in greater consumer acceptability.
  • Undertake quality testing (in retailer stores) and measure the impact of change with the launch and adoption of the new MMS across the value chain.
  • Continue to drive best practices across the supply chain from growers to retail through education and engagement mechanisms and drive a positive culture focused on high-quality standards for Australian table grapes.
  • Build capacity and understanding for quality improvement across the supply chain, with regular feedback provided.
  • Monitor the adoption of the MMS and demonstrate improvements in grape quality and consumer acceptability over time, and in addition, monitor the consumer behavioural data collected through the Harvest to Home platform.

Adverse weather events over the previous two seasons affected growing conditions, leading to a reduction in Brix and more variable fruit maturity. This could have led to a significant reduction in consumer acceptance. However, through the core project activities, including in-field testing before harvest, in-store maturity monitoring and working closely with the whole supply chain, including growers, suppliers and retailers, whilst consumer acceptance has dropped slightly, the overall performance is strikingly better than if the project activities had not been in place.

This project demonstrated the benefit of implementing multi-year projects that effectively create a ‘grower-push’ and a retailer ‘pull’, enabling the whole supply chain to adopt the MMS and understand the benefits of an aligned industry approach. This approach has also been showcased to other industries, including apple and pear, summerfruit, melons, citrus, mangoes, and sweetpotato as an example of an industry taking a leadership position regarding the importance of fruit quality and consistency to build consumer acceptance.

Throughout the project, a Project Reference Group consisting of major retailers and grower representatives guided specific activities and ensured they met the needs of industry.

Related levy funds

This program was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Table Grape Fund