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.

IFG committed to dynamic performance in grape category

September 30, 2020 | The Producer News

The recent launch of new grape varietal logos by International Fruit Genetics has helped the Bakersfield, CA-based breeder improve clarity in a category where differing names for the same fruit often persist. “It’s a prescriptive approach,” explained Andy Higgins, CEO of IFG. “Let’s clean it up to help all involved understand what we're offering, and consumers know what they’re buying.” The program is intended to provide value for all involved, with IFG providing graphic files and logo use guidelines, and placing it in the hands of growers and marketers to bring them forward.

“If you go back 40, 60, 80 years, typically the table grape world has always been represented as a commodity, as far as what consumers can choose from,” said Higgins. “Certainly driven by Thompson Seedless, which was introduced in 1894. We didn’t see a lot of innovation until the 1970s when seedless breeding came to the forefront.” According to Higgins, from that point on much of the effort was focused on creating improvements to Thompson and the seedless category at large. That early work, continuing into the last two decades was focused largely on what could be considered grower channel attributes such as yield, storability, and berry weight.

IFG delivering the sizzle and the grape

August 26, 2020 | The Producer News

International Fruit Genetics launched a new variety of logos to inspire consumers to come back — again and again — for more of the grapes they have come to know and love. The new bold and vibrant designs were created based on licensee and retailer requests to provide more tools for creating interest and attention on the store shelf with a consistent and unified look for IFG breed brands.

These visually appealing logos tell the IFG brand story and help consumers easily recognize the various grape varieties. When consumers recognize the new logos on the shelf, they can expect fresh, flavorful, and delicious grapes.

“As more 52-week table grape supply programs are in place, unified designs and brand recognition will help suppliers and marketers provide retailers more opportunity to drive sales. IFG continues to invest in our varieties and trademarks and offer these logos for packaging artwork on bags, wraps and labels,” said Andy Higgins, CEO of IFG.

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