In mid-July, the first Candy Snaps grapes started to be harvested in Alicante by the company Uvasdoce, officially kicking off a campaign in which there are prospects for the demand to remain acceptable thanks, in part, to the good quality of the fruit this year.
"In week 30, we will start harvesting the first red and white seedless grapes, and in week 31 we will already have significant volumes that will allow us to serve all our customers," says Miriam Cutillas, of the Marketing and Sales Department of Uvasdoce.
"In May and June we have had a very good demand - even greater than what we were able to supply - since there has been a scarcity of melon, watermelon and stone fruit this summer. We are confident that consumption will be good this year, given also the high quality that we observe in the fields. We have been working with the Candy Snaps variety for 4 years and I dare say that this is the year in which the quality is best! "Although production costs have risen considerably, we can't raise the selling prices of table grapes exorbitantly, as consumption would suffer," she says.
The company, based in the municipality of Monforte del Cid, Alicante, is seeing its own production grow by between 8 and 10%, and imports in the off-season period by 45%. In fact, for this domestic grape campaign it has expanded its packing area with an additional line and 100 more workers.
"Next year we will grow again in a very significant manner, and we will, too, in the following year. This season, our varietal reconversion period, which we started in 2010 and which has taken us 12 years, has come to an end. It seems we really like the number 12 in this company," says Miriam, joking. "Therefore, this is the first year in which we will not market a single kilo of seeded grapes. The fact is that, although there is still a niche market for seeded grapes, it is getting smaller and smaller and we prefer to continue specializing in seedless grapes."
"In recent years, we have managed for table grapes to be consumed all year round in Spain, so they are no longer a seasonal product. This trend has come to consolidate in part thanks to the varietal change that this product has undergone, achieving better flavors that meet the expectations of consumers, as well as a consistency in terms of quality in the production from various origins," says Miriam Cutillas. "Table grapes are becoming increasingly present in the shopping basket," she adds.
While the domestic market is one of the most important for Uvasdoce, the firm also exports to the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and South Africa, and it is also gaining ground in the Baltic countries, the Middle East and the Far East. "This is the first year in which our special Las Chuches de Uvasdoce children's packaging formats have been shipped via airfreight to the United Arab Emirates, where there is room for value-added products. Shipping table grapes to distant destinations by sea is proving to be very challenging and expensive. Freight rates to export to South Africa are prohibitively expensive, but we hope to reach agreements with our customers," says the company's marketing and sales manager.