Beyond the vine: Breeding better grapes

August 19, 2021 | By Andy Higgins, CEO of IFG

Last year, Mintel released its robust market research report on how today's consumers approach nutrition. Among various diet assessments, eating habits and affordability, the findings revealed that even the most discerning consumers valued taste above all. Providing consumers with an incredible eating experience is IFG's mission statement, which proves that we as innovative breeders are on the right path, based on Mintel's report.

With so many options in supermarkets today, most consumers have multiple brands to choose from that meet their nutritional and budgetary requirements. What Mintel's report does for us, however, is give consumer insight that supports why many fruit-breeding companies focus more on innovating new and diverse flavors to appeal to consumers' preferences. Buying fresh produce is high on the demand for consumers. Most importantly, the produce section provides consumers with more choices and inspiration to be creative by trying new textures, flavors, or recipes to feed themselves or their families. As a breeding company, we are focused on taking our consumers on that creative culinary journey, so they return to the store for more.

THE DISH: Satisfy sweet tooth with Cotton Candy grapes

August 12, 2021 | BY STEFANI DIAS This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It's that time of year for grape lovers: The sweet, Cotton Candy variety is now in stores around town.

Sweet Surrender, a longtime supporter of the healthier dessert option, has The Grapery fruit in stock now at its store at 6439 Ming Ave., Suite B.

Sully's convenience stores are also stocking the grapes, joking on Facebook that they are "up to our ears with Cotton Candy grapes."

The local chain has locations at 2317 L St. (638-0310), 6009 Coffee Road (615-6210), 11400 Ming Ave. (847-9730), 6601 Ming Ave.(831-1270), 9709 Olive Drive (695-9709) 250 Coffee Road (885-9705) and 4833 Buena Vista Road (885-6024). Call to check for availability of grapes at specific locations.

Locally-grown Cotton Candy grapes are back

August 12, 2021 | By: Marisel Maldonado

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Grapery’s Cotton Candy-flavored grapes are back on store shelves at Sully’s Chevron locations in Bakersfield.

Sully’s announced on social media that the Cotton Candy grapes will be available while supplies last at Sully’s Chevron locations and Sweet Surrender. Grapery teamed up with fruit breeder International Fruit Genetics to create the sweet flavor. The grapes are harvested right here in Kern County.

Sweet! It’s Cotton Candy grape season

August 10, 2021 | By Ann Trieger Kurland

The first bite of a Cotton Candy grape is a revelation: just like the sugary carnival treat for which they’re named, these grapes have pronounced vanilla and burnt caramel flavors. The fun fruit is a hybrid of Concord and green grapes, created through cross breeding (and are non-GMO) by horticulturist David Cain and his team in Bakersfield, Calif.

The resulting flavor was not intentional, says Jim Beagle, CEO at Grapery, the Bakersfield company that grows and ships the grapes.

Grapery introduced the Cotton Candy grape to the East Coast over five years ago. “The flavor has become even more pronounced and consistent over the years,” says Beagle. He explains that since the grapes are hand-harvested and the workers have also gained experience in choosing ones that have reached their peak, current yields have the most intense flavor.

Future table grapes will be more than tri-colored

July 22, 2021 | by Lee Allen

When it comes to table grapes of the future, they “won’t just be red, green, or black anymore,” says Andy Higgins, CEO of International Fruit Genetics in Bakersfield.

“If you look at apples, they’re sold by name and consumers have preferences,” he says. “Potatoes are sold by variety name and who would have thought 20 years ago that that would have been the case. It’s part of a trend that consumers want product choices.”

IFG seeks to do its part as a breeder of innovation, admitting that not all discoveries are winners and some turn out to be like the auto industry’s Edsel. “You can’t predict everything and new products get tested in grower trials, with marketers, and ultimately with consumers who vote with their pocketbook.”

The history of growing fruit

July 15, 2021 | by  Chris Owens

The fruit industry has dramatically changed over the last 20 years.

IFG (International Fruit Genetics) showed that a table grape could be so much more, providing a new and interesting consumer experience with the Cotton Candy grape. During the past 20 years, there has been a steady increase in the growth of proprietary fruit breeding programs and we have been very successful by placing a greater emphasis on consumer acceptance of our new varieties.

How has fruit breeding changed?

Taking the table grape and making it not just an option at the store, but something that consumers seek out is a huge change in the industry.

Cherries without the chill

June 24, 2021 | by Kate Prengaman

California breeder International Fruit Genetics is best known for its innovative, flavor-forward grape varieties. Now, the company hopes to find similar success with its new low-chill cherry releases that are intended for regions with mild to almost nonexistent winters, but they could have potential far beyond.

Both the grape and cherry breeding programs were founded 20 years ago, but cherries proved a much slower crop to breed, said Chris Owens, IFG’s lead plant breeder. Longtime breeder and IFG co-founder David Cain retired in 2020.

“We’re attempting to do extremely low-chill cherries,” Owens said. “We’re based in the lower San Joaquin Valley, and we’re trying to breed cherries for this environment.”

So far, IFG has released seven varieties under the Cheery trade name, including Cheery Grand, Cheery Treat, Cheery Blush and Cheery Glow, and dozens more selections are under evaluation in partnership with commercial growers, Owens said. The parentage in the breeding program is quite diverse, and the low-chill trait comes from a tropical Prunus species that needed to be crossed again and again into material with higher fruit quality.

La historia de la fruticultura: 20 años de avances en la industria

June 24, 2021 | Por: Leandro Martín Olmos | Actualidad Técnica, Frutas, Newsletter 243, Variedades

IFG (International Fruits Genetics) celebra los revolucionarios avances aportados al mundo del mejoramiento de la fruta. IFG demostró que una uva de mesa podía ser mucho más, proporcionando una nueva e interesante experiencia al consumidor con la uva Cotton Candy™.

Durante los últimos 20 años, ha habido un aumento constante en el crecimiento de los programas de mejora de la fruta de propiedad e IFG ha tenido mucho éxito al poner un mayor énfasis en la aceptación del consumidor de las nuevas variedades. Con cada paso hacia adelante, el IFG continúa asegurando su lugar en el espacio agrícola, y están orgullosos de ser una fuente de visión y avance en la industria.

The History of Fruit Breeding: Celebrating 20 Years Advancing the Industry

June 10, 2021 | Dr. Chris Owens, Lead Plant Breeder at IFG

The fruit industry has dramatically changed over the last 20 years, and IFG is celebrating the pioneering advancements we have brought to the world of fruit breeding.  IFG showed that a table grape could be so much more, providing a new and interesting consumer experience with the Cotton Candy™ grape.  During the past 20 years, there has been a steady increase in the growth of proprietary fruit breeding programs and IFG has been very successful by placing a greater emphasis on consumer acceptance of our new varieties.  With each step forward, IFG continues to secure its place in the agricultural space, and we are proud to be a source of vision and advancement in the industry.

IFG celebrating 20th anniversary in grapes

June 4, 2021 | By Keith Loria

Since 2001, Bakersfield, CA-based IFG has grown more than 75,000 grape seedlings and the category is a large and important part of its business and portfolio, with more than 70,000 acres under license across 14 countries.

The company is widely recognized for inventing the Cotton Candy and Sweet Globe grapes.

“Compared to other table grape breeders, our company is young,” said Andy Higgins, IFG’s chief executive officer. “We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year and have been actively licensing only for the past decade or so. We are fortunate that several of our first introductions were successful out of the gate, including Sweet Celebration. Our development has continued and we now have more than 40 patented varieties.”

IFG’s breeding program is broad, covering grower needs, retailer requirements and always looking to bring the very best forward to the consumer.

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