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Australian Table Grape Exports to China Increase in 2019

September 26, 2019

At the 2019 China International Fruit and Vegetable Fair (ChinaFVF) held in Beijing on Sept. 9-10, Produce Report had the chance to interview Jeff Scott, CEO of the Australian Table Grape Association. During the interview, Scott shared how the association is acclimating to China’s competitive market, and how exports to China rebounded strongly in 2019: “55,000 tons of table grapes have already been exported to China this season, representing a 32% year-on-year increase valued at AUD220 million.”

Scott attributes the growing popularity of Australian table grapes in China to favorable growing conditions, high quality standards, and the launch of new varieties. Australia is expected to export 10 new table grape varieties to China by 2020.

With their sweet and succulent flavors, Australian table grapes have a strong reputation in global markets. For Chinese consumers, consistency of size and appearance are important features. They also especially enjoy seedless table grapes, the Crimson variety of which has seen positive results since its launch in the marketplace.

Jeff Scott participating in the China-Australia Fresh Produce Trade Conference at ChinaFVF 2019

Scott further explained how Australian table grapes benefit from three factors: location, shipping, and quality control. Australia’s climate is conducive to the production of grapes, and the geographic location provides a natural barrier against pesticides originating from other countries. This also means that Australia can supply table grapes to China during the crucial off-seasons of other grape producing regions.

Moreover, sea freight traveling from Australia to China takes only 18 days, as opposed to the 32 days needed for shipments from South America. This provides Australia a distinct advantage over other Southern Hemisphere grape exporters, despite sharing similar harvesting times. Shipping by air is even more advantageous for Australian exports to China as the whole process of picking, packing, and delivery to Chinese markets can be completed in just two days.

Scott also emphasized that protecting quality and flavor has been another key factor contributing to the association’s growth in China. For instance, Australian table grapes are carefully monitored until full ripeness, quickly packed after harvest, and transported at consistently optimal temperatures to ensure they arrive to market as fresh as possible.

On China’s market outlook, Scott added “China’s new table grape varieties, production technology, and product quality has been continuously improving in recent years, and there are now some impressively high-quality domestic grapes available. As China and Australia have different grape production seasons, the two countries could play complimentary roles in the market.”

Australia’s table grape export season lasts from January to June each year. According to Scott, Australia’s table grape growers and exporters will continue to pursue their strategy of providing safe, ripe, fresh, sweet, high quality table grapes for the China market.

This is a translated, editied version of an article originally published in Chinese. Read the original article here.

Photos: Produce Report and ChinaFVF


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