South Africa to sweeten, add health halo to snacks with rising production of raisins

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s raisin production is projected to rebound to normal levels and increase by 19 percent to 85,000 Metric Tons (MT) in the 2021/22 Marketing Year (MY), up from 71,493 MT in the 2020/21 MY.

This, according to a GAIN report by USDA, is based on normal weather conditions, an increase in area planted and new orchards coming into full production.

Also, yields are forecasted to improve due to new varieties and production practices, wine grapes being diverted for raisin production, and the adequate availability of irrigation water.

In addition, raisin production areas are currently experiencing freezing weather, which is ideal as it kills insects and puts the vines into rest mode in preparation of the 2021/22 MY.

The dried grapes production in South Africa is concentrated along the Orange River, in the Northern Cape Province, accounting for at least 90 percent of the total annual production.

In terms of types, the Thompson seedless raisin is the predominant cultivar produced in the country, accounted for 40 percent of the total production in the 2020/21 MY, followed by the Goldens (34 percent), Sultanas (9 percent), Flames (9 percent), and Currants (5 percent).

Raisin domestic consumption to marginally rise

Raisins are considered affordable and are a popular healthy snack and baking ingredient in across the globe.

The confectionary and baking industry is the largest consumer of the fruits in the country for products like cookies, cakes, and buns that are consumed during festive times such as Christmas, Easter, and Ramadan.

South Africa’s raisin domestic consumption is set to increase by 2 percent

Sweet sultana raisins on the other hand are ideal for baking, while the golden–yellow sultana variety are sweet-sour and well-suited for salads and cooking.

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During the period under review, the domestic consumption of raisins in South Africa is set to increase by 2 percent to 18,000 MT in the 2021/22 MY, up from 17,600 MT in the 2019/20 MY, propelled by growth in the health snack food market.

Snacking has garnered a reputation in the last few years with research firm Mordor Intelligence indicating that the snack bar market in South Africa, comprising of cereals & energy bars, is projected to register a CAGR of 11.48% during the forecast period 2020-2025.

South Africa expands export market share

With production being higher than local consumption rate, South Africa is the leading exporter in the region and holds a substantially market share at the global arena.

In 2021/22, raisin exports from the country will increase by 4% to 72,000 MT in the 2021/22 MY, up from 69,000 MT in the 2020/21 MY.

Europe remains South Africa’s largest foreign market for raisins, accounting for 64 percent of export market share.

Germany is the largest single market for South African raisin exports and accounted for 33 percent of the total exports in 2020, followed by United Kingdom (10 percent), Canada (9 percent), United States (9 percent), Netherlands (9 percent), Algeria (8 percent), France (4 percent), and Denmark (2 percent).

South African raisin exports also enjoy duty-free access to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Due to increased supply from the continued growth of raisin production, South Africa is placing more emphasis on expanding its export markets, competing against the world’s leading raisin suppliers i.e., Australia, Chile, Greece, Iran, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States.

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