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.
December 2, 2020 | by Liam O’Callaghan
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.
November 11, 2020 | by Matthew Jones
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.
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.
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.
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.
August 18, 2020 | by Liam O'Callaghan
David Cain, founder and chief plant breeder of International Fruit Genetics (IFG), has been awarded the 2020 Wilder Medal by the American Pomological Society.
The medal was given in recognition of Cain’s contributions throughout his 42-year career in fruit breeding.
Cain has developed or co-developed 94 cultivars of fruits, including 66 table grapes, ten sweet cherries, nine plums, four apricots, four peaches and one nectarine cultivars.
August 17, 2020 | by David Eddy
International Fruit Genetics (IFG), one of the world’s largest fruit-breeding companies, has announced that its Founder and Chief Plant Breeder, Dr. David Cain, has been awarded the 2020 Wilder Medal, the highest honor presented by the American Pomological Society. This medal recognizes Dr. Cain’s contributions throughout his 42-year career in fruit breeding.
Dr. Cain has developed or co-developed 94 cultivars of fruits, including 66 table grapes, 10 sweet cherries, nine plums, four apricots, four peaches, and one nectarine cultivar. His developments have had an impact worldwide, being grown on all continents except Antarctica. These developments have resulted in an impressive 75-plus U.S. plant patents, over 20 additional U.S. plant patents applied for, and more than 200 Plant Breeders Rights applications in the world.
July 21, 2020 | Euro Fresh
International Fruit Genetics (IFG), the renowned and innovative fruit breeder that changed the way consumers and retailers think of grapes, is adding six new varieties that are poised to further disrupt the produce industry and lead the table grape world with unique shapes and flavours that consumers have come to demand. Unlike typical grape-naming systems that simply reflect seasons or colour, IFG created a new and energizing naming architecture that depicts the essence of these new IFG-bred varieties that explode with tropical flavours, crunch like an apple or elegantly improve older varieties that deserve some revitalization.