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Ongoing project

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

Key research provider: Australian Table Grape Association

What’s it all about?

This investment is working to ensure that the new minimum maturity standards for table grapes are fully adopted across the supply chain from the 2020/21 season onwards. The project team will work closely with growers to build their capacity and understanding of how to improve their table grape quality, as well as wholesalers and supermarkets to drive their accountability along the supply chain. These efforts will contribute to ensuring greater consumer satisfaction in the quality and taste of Australian table grapes.

Grower workshops and webinars will be held throughout the project to ensure that table grape growers understand the benefits of minimum maturity standards and to provide them with the knowledge and skills to implement them in their businesses. Regular updates will also be communicated through the Australian table grape industry communications program (TG18004) various channels, which you can sign up for here.

Close engagement will also be maintained with major retailers to monitor the progress of meeting the minimum maturity standards, including training with technical teams and gaining access to in-store monitoring data.

These activities will be underpinned with the collection of quality data to measure how the industry is performing against the standards, and how consumers are responding to the changes.

Project activities have been progressing smoothly over the last reporting period, with ongoing monitoring of retailer quality data and in-store sampling conducted each week. Maturity results are published weekly on the online portal for key grape varieties/types and individual benchmarking data provide to key retailers.

Monitoring was also conducted in Emerald, Mildura and Robinvale for a four-week period prior to the indicative (historical) season start date and results circulated to growers, suppliers and retailers to mitigate the temptation to start the season before fruit is mature with acceptable eating quality.

The team report the following activities and outcomes since the last project update.

  • Two alignment workshops were conducted with all stakeholders, ensuring representative attendance across retailers (including Costco and Metcash) and producers
  • Agreement was obtained from large scale retailers to share distribution centre (DC) testing and quality control (QC) inspection data with the project team
  • Tailored training and guidance were provided to each retailer for the QC inspection teams within DCs
  • Existing retailer grape testing methodologies were calibrated to ensure consistency across retailers and that full traceability is provided back to the grower
  • Retailer QC data was collated into a database for interrogation and extraction of insights
  • Weekly performance summaries were provided to each retailer, detailing performance in meeting the MMS
  • In-store maturity monitoring was undertaken, with nine samples taken per week for 20 weeks
  • Engagement and communication with growers, suppliers and the wider industry emphasises that retailers will be closely testing and inspecting their fruit
  • A grower survey was conducted to gauge understanding and buy-in for the project and to guide further actions required to aid grower adoption
  • Project progress and key details were shared with growers and industry via newsletters, e-newsletters, webinars, and meetings when possible.

ACT NOW

Project information and updates have been shared in The Vine magazine, available via the ATGA website.

A pre-season Stakeholder Working Group workshop was formed including the five largest growers, suppliers and aggregators and the three major retailers in efforts to align key stakeholders and refine activities across the life of the project.

2020-21 pre-season Grower Roadshows were held online to present information on the importance of consistent fruit quality for consumers, how minimum maturity standards (MMS) help improve quality and how retailers manage the grape category.

On-farm MMS monitoring has been conducted in the Emerald region. Emerald data was collected with sampling and measurement for eight weeks during the start of the season. Maturity information was provided to growers and retailers to advise them when early fruit is achieving the MMS.

Retail monitoring has been conducted in Melbourne retail stores for white, red and black grapes.

A weekly performance summary is being provided to each retailer, via a secure online access (ClickData Platform), detailing individual retailer performance in meeting the MMS and how this compares to the industry average.

Industry communications and project information has been shared across industry magazine The Vine, available on the ATGA website.

Related levy funds
Details

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