IFG Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

April 1, 2021 | Hort News

IFG, the world’s top fruit-breeding and licensing company widely recognized for inventing the Cotton Candy™ and Sweet Globe ™ grapes, has reached an exciting milestone as the company celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. IFG is renowned worldwide for its innovative fruit-breeding programs that have changed the way consumers and retailers think and experience grapes and other fruits, and through the company’s unique offerings of flavour-forward fruit varieties and its global IP licensing program, IFG has transformed the fruit breeding industry in the short span of just 20 years.

Today, IFG boasts 45 patented grape and sweet cherry varieties, and its network of licensed growers extends to all corners of the globe with 1,344 licensees in 15 different countries. Additionally, the company has grown to 55 staff members globally.

World-renowned table grape innovator celebrates milestone

April 1, 2021 | The Producer News

IFG, a top fruit-breeding and licensing company widely recognized for inventing the Cotton Candy and Sweet Globe grapes, has reached an exciting milestone as the company celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. IFG is renowned worldwide for its innovative fruit-breeding programs that have changed the way consumers and retailers think and experience grapes and other fruits, and through the company's unique offerings of flavor-forward fruit varieties and its global IP licensing program, IFG has transformed the fruit breeding industry in the short span of just 20 years.

Today, IFG boasts 45 patented grape and sweet cherry varieties, and its network of licensed growers extends to all corners of the globe with 1,344 licensees in 15 different countries. Additionally, the company has grown to 55 staff members globally.

“At IFG, we have three primary assets: our trademarks, our varieties, and our people,” said IFG CEO Andy Higgins. “Without each of those assets, we would not be the company we are today. As an organization that has Intellectual Property, we are committed to protecting our trademarks, our varieties, and of course, supporting our people in their every success and we are proud of the tremendous advances we’ve made to the fruit-breeding industry over the years. Our talented team has worked tirelessly to execute this ambitious vision, and to see it all come together is quite rewarding.”

My Entire Family Flipped for Candy Hearts Grapes

February 12, 2021 | By Sheena Chihak

Cotton Candy grapes have met their match.

I eat a lot of produce. Almost the entire left side of our fridge is devoted to fruits and veggies, yet there are thousands of produce varieties I haven't tasted. How could I possibly be expected to try all 7,500 varieties of apples in the world? Or the estimated 10,000 types of grapes? Last week I got to cross one untasted grape off my list. My husband returned from our local Sam's Club with a $9, 3-pound container of Candy Hearts grapes, and more than just their Valentine's-sounding name stood out. These red grapes had a sweet, floral aroma. (Pay attention next time you walk by grapes, you won't usually notice an aroma.) And after a quick wash, their distinct flavor had the entire family going gaga. It's not often a piece of fruit gets the three of us so fired up that we're making endorsing statements as though we're somehow particularly qualified to judge fruit. But why had I never seen Candy Hearts grapes before? Are they new? Will I eat them every day for the rest of my life? I found some answers.

Local fruit-breeders help keep shelves stocked year-round

February 21, 2021 | by John Fox

Feb. 21—U.S. shoppers expect them and so grocery stores do, too — but how do you deliver a summer fruit like grapes all 52 weeks of the year?

It's not as easy as shipping them from as far away as Brazil, though that's part of it. Only the heartiest grape would survive the trip still looking fresh and crunchy.

That's where Kern County fruit breeders come in. Their sophisticated but conventionally based selection methods yield grapes that not only offer long shelf lives but also withstand the temperature fluctuations common on long journeys.

In doing so, local companies have helped raise and now support consumer expectations that are relatively new. Bananas may have become a perennial staple long ago, but having grapes as a year-round fruit became practical relatively recently.

IFG closes South African IP case

February 16, 2021 | by Liam O'Callaghan

Breeder’s protracted case against a South African table grape grower has come to a successful end

After several years of lawsuits, International Fruit Genetics (IFG) has successfully enforced its intellectual property rights with South African table grape grower.

The leading table grape breeder had been engaged in a protracted fight against the uncooperative grower as it sought to protect its proprietary varietals in Western Cape, South Africa.

In 2010, IFG concluded a suite of licensing, planting, and marketing agreements with a table grape grower in Paarl, as well as other associated farming entities. The grower was licensed to plant, grow and market several IFG grape varieties in South Africa,

However, during an inspection, IFG determined that this grower had unlawfully propagated some of the varietals beyond license limits and was growing and propagating an IFG varietal before protection for the variety was granted in South Africa.

These 'Candy Snaps™' Grapes Taste Just Like, Well, Candy

February 04, 2021 | By Tim Nelson

People say they're even better than cotton candy grapes!

At this point in 2021, you may still be holding fast to your pledge to swap out sweets for more fruits and vegetables instead. It's a noble challenge, undertaken during some of the toughest times. If you've made it this far with such a resolution, I'd say that earns you the right to exploit a loophole every now and then.

In this case, that means picking up a whole lot of something that technically is a fruit, but has candy right there in the name. I'm talking about a big ol' bunch of Candy Snaps™ grapes for sale at Costco, the home of all things massive and indulgent. According to an Instagram post from the @Costcosisters (part of an ever-expanding universe of Costco-focused Instagram accounts), these candy grapes are sold in a three-pound package for $8, meeting the unofficial Costco mandate of making tasty things cheap and plentiful.

Grape variety recognition on the horizon

January 14, 2021 | By Tim Linden

For more than a decade, private grape breeding programs have been releasing proprietary varieties and changing the face of the table grape industry. Andy Higgins, CEO of IFG, one of the leading privately-funded grape breeding programs, believes that trend will continue and consumers will start buying fresh grapes by variety, just as they do with fresh apples.

The Produce News recently interviewed Higgins, who discussed the grape industry and the consumer-driven trend to have a 52-week supply of a wide variety of flavorful grapes. While retailers are still marketing grapes to consumers by color — red, green, and black — increasingly they are asking for specific varieties when buying those colors. Currently, IFG has 15 varieties being grown in countries from both hemispheres, providing a year-round supply of grapes, which are designed to please consumers all around the world. The breeding program licenses these varieties to a limited list of growers maintaining control and keeping the supply-demand curve in balance. Some of IFG’s most well-known varieties include Cotton Candy, Sweet Globe and Sweet Celebration. Other private breeders have their own popular varieties and similar licensing agreements.

Committed to growth

December 2, 2020 | by Liam O’Callaghan

As IFG’s presence in Australia continues to expand, chief executive Andy Higgins is excited about the wide range of opportunities the market presents.

The development of the Australian table grape industry gives International Fruit Genetics (IFG) plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

Andy Higgins, chief executive of IFG, says this an outlook shared by its licensees as both parties commit to more investment.

Plantings of IFG’s proprietary varieties continue to accelerate as growers replace older varieties, such as Thompson Seedless, with both sweet naturals and specialty, flavoured varieties.

“Our total for Australia is almost 1,214ha and we’re on target for 2021 to increase that to about 1,740ha by the end of the year,” Higgins says. “The majority of that planting continues to be focused on the sweet neutrals with Sweet Globe and Sugar Crisp being the primary drivers for that area of planting.

IFG moves to protect IP in China

November 11, 2020 | by Matthew Jones

Leading fruit breeder says it won’t tolerate any infringement of its rights

International Fruit Genetics (IFG) has moved to safeguard its intellectual property rights in China.

The California-based fruit breeding company has filed for plant breeders' rights, plant variety rights and trademark protection for many of its proprietary varieties in various Chinese jurisdictions.

“IFG greatly values the Chinese market and will continue its efforts to make its premium fruit varieties available to Chinese consumers,” the company said in a media release.

In response to a current intellectual property infringement in China involving the IFG-Six table grape variety (marketed as Sweet Sapphire), IFG said it would consider any enforcement actions within its power to protect its rights.

IFG looks forward to securing its intellectual property rights for grape varieties in China

November 10, 2020 | Fresh Plaza

International Fruit Genetics (IFG) a California-based fruit breeding company has filed for patent / plant breeders' rights / plant variety rights and trademark protection for many of its proprietary varieties in various jurisdictions. The company is the largest private breeder of table grapes in the world and licenses proprietary breeds of fruit to growers worldwide. IFG greatly values the Chinese market and will continue its efforts to make its premium fruit varieties available to Chinese consumers.

In response to the current IP infringement activities in China involving the IFG-Six variety, IFG would like to make the following statements:

IFG is the legitimate breeder and proprietor of the IFG-Six variety (marketed under the registered trademarks "Sweet Sapphire®" and "甜蜜蓝宝石®"). Sweet Sapphire® grapes have a long cylindrical shape, most with a dimple on the tip. IFG submitted the application for plant variety rights protection for IFG-Six (Sweet Sapphire®) in China in 2018, and the variety has been preliminarily approved by the Office of Variety Protection of The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, which approval was published on January 1st, 2019. In August, 2020 The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs conducted an on-site inspection of the DUS testing site for the IFG-Six variety.

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