Peter Kuilman, director of Red Sun Raisins, shows Vittorio Friedmann (left) of Voicevale and Christine Weiser of Fresh Produce Journal some of the finer points of the raisin grading process
10 Mar 2020 | Article published in IEG VU Agribusiness
Raisins quality has to start at farm level
Peter Kuiliman, director of the company, remarked: “What we say here is that ‘this is not a raisin hospital. We can’t take a sick raisin here and make it better. It has got to be right from the farm.” Unless the raisin is the right quality coming from the farm it doesn’t matter how good your factory is as you’re never going to put it right.” Kuilman was talking to trade visitors to his factory on March 2. The visiting group comprised trade journalists from the UK and Germany and UK distributors of raisins and other dried fruits.
The trade visit was organised and hosted by Raisins South Africa and its UK marketing and PR representative Red Communications.
Red Sun Dried Fruit & Nuts/Red Sun Raisins was established in 2009.
The privately-owned company processes high quality raisins produced along the banks of the Orange River in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
The firm believes that its solid, international marketing network will ensure the development of its business and the continued prosperity of the 250 growers along the Orange River, from whom it receives its raisins.
Kuilman suggested that many consumers are probably unaware that 1.2 million tonnes of dried grapes are produced globally each year and said that he would like to create a “raisin tasting” situation to raise awareness of the various types across origins.
He recalled that in 1997 the single channel marketing system – under which farmers had to deliver their raisins to South African Dried Fruit – was scrapped. This shift gradually led to the creation of a number of processors that continue to operate successfully today.
Red Sun Raisins’ initial annual capacity was 2,000-3,000 tonnes of raisins. This has now reached 15,000 tonnes. “We can relatively easily expand it to 20,000 tonnes,” Kuilman explained. Kuilman observed that there are now seven raisin processors in South Africa.