Uncertainty in China Heading into New Grape Season
25 January 2022
Peruvian Grapes have just started hitting Chinese Wholesale Markets. When we were in Jiangnan Market, Guangzhou last week - the volume of Peruvian grapes was very low and we saw no South African or Australian fruit.
Overall some imported grapes, from all countries, are being inspected at Customs for Covid or batches are being dissenfected and this is slowing clearance times. Good fruit seems to be getting reasonable prices but volumes have not arrived yet. Chinese grapes from Yunnan are still prominently on display in the market and retail stores. One seller in Jiangnan market said the price of the same grape, same brand from Peru could vary from RMB 120 to 360 per box depending on whether the fruit had long shipping and clearance times and had a ‘fermented’ taste or arrived quicker in good shape.
Early shipping data indicates that, whilst Peru is a week late in production, shipments to China will match or exceed last year. It appears new varieties will ramp up at the expense of red globe, which has previously accounted for over 70% of exports to China. On market reports this week the following varieties are in the market from Peru - Sweet Globe (most prominent variety), Red Globe, Sugar Crtisp, Autumn Crisp, Timken, Sweet Favours and Candy Snaps. As is happening globally shipping costs have increased significantly from South America, by some 50%.
Covid continues to effect market demand with many consumers purchasing more local or less expensive fruit because of economic uncertainty. Despite this we predict there will still be good demand for quality imported table grapes post Chinese New Year. However, importers may be unwilling to risk placing large upfront orders because of recent losses on a range of fruits and the general economic uncertainty.
Picture: Peru Sweet Globe (RMB 49.9/500gr) and Local red seedless (RMB19.9/500gr) at a supermarket in Guangzhou, 21 January 2022
Retailers are certainly paying more attention to in-store presentation. Chinese grapes are being increasingly well packaged and some are achieving the prices of imported grapes, presumably because of freshness.
We believe that in-store/online promotion of the features of imported grapes may be beneficial in this crowded market, particularly for higher priced fruit.