The Washington juice grape industry is missing out on an opportunity by not promoting the fruit’s nutritional value, Rocky Brumley, inside sales manager for Milne Fruit Products of Prosser, told growers at the Washington State Grape Society’s annual meeting.
While Concord grape concentrate from Washington is differentiated from other fruit concentrates by its quality, its health benefits have not been widely promoted, he said.
Concord grapes are high in resveratrol, an antioxidant that may be good for the heart, he said, adding that extracts from grape pomace—the skins, seeds, and seeds left over from processing—are an up-and-coming sales item for Milne. The extracts are sought after for their nutraceutical value.
"We need to promote Concords as one of the super foods," he said. With the high resveratrol content, Brumley believes that Concords are equal to pomegranates and other "super food" fruit juices. He called for an industrywide effort to promote the health benefits of Concords.
Although Concord concentrate prices are currently stable, Brumley worries about a softening of world apple juice prices. "The world market for commodity juices affects all fruit juices, including Concords," he said, explaining that when prices weaken for apple, pear, white and red grape juices, there is downward pressure on Concord prices as well.
The U.S. apple concentrate market was relatively high last year at $11.50 per gallon, Brumley noted. However, 20 loads of apple concentrate moved out of China in late November for $5.20 per gallon, delivered.