As the 2019 Australian grape season draws to a close, exporters are looking back on a highly successful campaign, with record volumes exported to China and good quality thanks to favourable growing conditions. Australian table grapes entered China ten years ago. Today, the giant Asian market accounts for about 37% of Australia’s total export volume of 110,000 tons.
Australian exporters have worked on improving the packaging of their Crimson grapes in line with Chinese consumers’ preference for gifting fruit. In addition to the traditional 9kg coffin pack, 4.5kg gift boxes are now being offered. Australian grapes has always had a reputation for being luxury items in China, and this reputation has been reinforced with the addition of new varieties, which have enjoyed great success and commanded high prices.
Australian grape imports have not always been so successful in China, however. As recently as 2016 and 2017, importers were overpricing the fruit and disregarding its quality, which led to a market crash and heavy losses. Australian grapes appear to have now regained their prestige and should go from strength to strength. As of this year, they will be subject to zero tariffs, which is leading to greater investment in Australia.