Oct 26, 2022
IFG showcases table grape breeding with field days

After a three-year hiatus due to pandemic travel restrictions, International Fruit Genetics LLC (IFG), the world’s largest table grape breeder, welcomed nearly 300 international licensees, marketers and retail representatives in July and August for the company’s Field Days.

This year’s events broke company records, with the highest attendance recorded in IFG’s Field Day history.

The overwhelming feedback from all who attended is that innovation and variety are crucial to the success of the international table grape industry. This means no gimmicks, just hardy, naturally bred table grapes with the essential texture (crispness and crunchiness) and an array of imaginative flavors that can appeal to a large international clientele of all ages and backgrounds.

IFG Field Days allow growers and retailers to sample new varieties of table grapes and help shape IFG’s new product development. These events also provide an open dialogue between IFG, licensees and retailers to discuss specific challenges and opportunities in each of the regions where IFG table grapes are grown and sold.

This year, participants got a sneak peek of IFG’s new Fruitworks | The IFG Discovery Center. The $14 million global campus dedicated to breeding and research in McFarland, California, will be opening in fall 2023.

“Our Field Days are an opportunity to share and benefit from the knowledge and experience each of us brings to the industry,” Andy Higgins, CEO of IFG, said in a news release. “Today there are many ways to delight consumers as natural breeding techniques have become ever more sophisticated, allowing us to introduce new varieties of table grapes into the market – raising the expectations of our consumers. As such, we are seeing shoppers eager to try new varieties, which offers great prospects for all our growers and retailers.”

Drew Ketelsen, vice president of HMC Farms, said the tour of the Fruitworks facility was the highlight of the field days.

“I’m especially excited about the work that IFG is doing with grafting table grape varieties onto different rootstocks as it will provide us with even more information when we are evaluating which ones best fit our portfolio,” Ketelsen said in the release. “IFG is a highly professional and innovative company, which shows in their varietal selections and R&D facilities.”

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