Cotton Candy Grapes Among Consumer Grape Craze; Grapery's Jim Beagle Comments on Challenges
UNITED STATES - Mainstream media is watching the literal fruits of the innovations the produce industry has been crafting, namely the grape category. The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Nassauer recently took a deep dive into the flavors coming out of the vineyards that are lifting them beyond “green,” “black,” and “red” grapes, featuring those behind it like Grapery’s Jim Beagle.
“So much pressure in our system is to build a fruit that is better for the supply chain instead of better for the customer,” Beagle told the news source, co-owner of the U.S. producer of Cotton Candy grapes. “That actually ends up reducing the flavor in the fruit that we eat.”
Efforts to grow products that are easily transportable and have a longer shelf-life play a part, as Beagle shared with WSJ, commenting that Cotton Candy grapes have slightly more calories than typical green grapes because of their higher sugar content.
Shelves are continuing to strive to meet demand, among them Walmart-owned Sam’s Club, Costco, and more.
Pat Burlinguette, grape buyer at Costco Wholesale for the past 21 years, told the Journal grapes started to become more flavorful several years ago, but “the Cotton Candy grape just went crazy on social media” and growers around the world started to catch on. The shift has made her job more difficult, necessitating navigating an evolving market to get Costco the unique products it aims to sell.
When growing season comes, Burlinguette said the company tries to “tie up all the fruit that is coming out of that grower that time of year.”
It is another curveball in the industry that seems to constantly roll with the punches. While that may be a lot of pressure, it is great to see that effort on the wires for consumers to understand. To read the full Wall Street Journal piece, click here.