Bakersfield, California-based International Fruit Genetics, a large table grape breeder with 48 patented table grape varieties, 10 patented sweet cherry varieties and its first patented raisin variety, is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the breeding of the Cotton Candy grape.
The Cotton Candy grape was first naturally bred in 2003 by David Cain, geneticist, horticulturalist and co-founder of IFG, but it took 10 more years before the Cotton Candy grape started to appear in retail stores. They are grown in 13 countries with more than 34,000 U.S.-tons produced and sold in main market destinations.
Top level retailers from around the world sell the grapes, including Sprouts, Costco, Sam’s Club, Tesco, Whole Foods, Kroger, Marks & Spencer, Albertsons and Safeway. They have been featured in films, international documentaries and national media coverage, including ABC and NPR.
“Today’s consumer wants new and unique flavors that provide a memorable eating experience. Cotton Candy grapes were one of the first products in the produce aisle to deliver this type of experience, and Sprouts was excited to participate in its launch,” said Matthew DeCeault, innovation manager, produce, Sprouts.
“As our top selling specialty grape, Sprouts is proud to carry this variety on shelf and excited for the next generation of IFG grape releases required to fuel growth in the table grape category. Cheers to Dr. Cain and the team at IFG.”
Similar sentiment from retail partners has been echoed from Paul Farmer of Marks and Spencer in the United Kingdom.
“M&S is extremely proud to be the pioneer of Cotton Candy grapes in the U.K. market alongside IFG. Cotton Candy grapes continues to be a favourite of M&S customers – especially children or anyone with a sweet tooth,” Farmer said.
“With greater availability due to wider global planting, we are incredibly pleased to see the Cotton Candy grape being featured on our shelves throughout the year.”
Founded in 2001, IFG is recognized for its non-GMO fruit varieties in the table grape, cherry and raisin industries. IFG patents and licenses its varieties to worldwide marketers and growers, with licensees in 18 countries and its fruit actively marketed in over 30 countries.
For more information, visit ifg.world.