Chilean crops looking strong

necIt is currently the heart of the Chilean grape and stone fruit seasons, and the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association has lots of good news to report.

With stone fruit, harvests of nectarines and peaches are practically finished as 17,053 tons of nectarines (23 percent of total export volume) have been shipped to North America, and 15,960 tons of peaches (57 percent of the total).

“Plums are also in the last stage of harvesting, with only a few orchards of the Angeleno variety still pending in the Maule region,” said Karen Brux, managing director of the CFFA. “For Chilean plums, the global export estimate for 2019-20 is 110,970 tons.”

The problem the category faces is most retailers aren’t going to have huge displays of stone fruit during the winter, which is why Brux recommended putting stone fruit in a noticeable, prominent position within the produce department.

Grapes is another category that is seeing big numbers. So far this year — through Week 11 — there has been a total export estimate of 618,590 tons.

“There has been a huge shift in varieties coming out of Chile, and it’s been very positive for the industry,” Brux said. “There are so many different varieties and retailers are usually selling multiple varieties at the same time, sometimes at different price points. The bag or clamshell often lists the name of the variety, but most retailers have zero information regarding the taste profile.”

The CFFA ran its first small marketing program for kiwifruit in 2019. It was such a success that there were so many retailers — both national and regional— that wanted to partake the CFFA couldn’t support them all.  

“The Chilean Kiwifruit Committee has worked tirelessly to improve the consistency and quality of Chilean Kiwifruit, so the results of our 2019 campaign were incredibly positive,” Brux said. “We’re hoping to grow this program significantly in 2020 and introduce even more retailers and consumers to the great taste and superb nutritional attributes of Chilean kiwifruit.”

The CFFA does a great deal to drive awareness to these products, and one of its most successful ways is through online programs.

“We run these on both our social media platforms, as well as retail social media,” Brux said. “All different types of contests, trivia games and giveaways to educate shoppers about Chilean fruit and drive awareness.”

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