New Canadian fresh grape varieties will expand growers’ offerings and fill up shelf space with flavour profiles that meet market demand. The Consumer Insights team at Vineland is working to ensure the new varieties are exactly what consumers are looking for.
In partnership with the Ontario Fresh Grape Growers, Vineland hosted a grower/ retailer open house to showcase new scouted varieties on the vine this past fall.
The Jupiter grape, developed at the University of Arkansas, was the most appealing by more than 75 per cent of participants. All attendees named Jupiter as the variety with the most commercial potential and commented on its flavour, sweet taste, berry size and shape, as well as colour.
Vineland’s Consumer Insights team also completed focus groups on blue and green grapes and found some unique insights including:
- Consumers are receptive to new Ontario varieties even though there is little recognition of the fresh grape industry in the province
- Grape varieties are recognized by colour and not by name
- While texture and appearance are important, taste/flavor are key
- Jupiter was picked as the top variety in blue grape focus groups for taste/flavour
- Participants liked the unique, muscat flavour of Jupiter and that it tasted differently from varieties they are accustomed to
- Consumers in general don’t look for blue grapes. This perception will need to change and be supported through marketing efforts
Next steps in this project include consumer information to develop a commercial name for Jupiter with the goal of introducing to retail by 2022. This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.