A pre-conditioning process developed in the US to improve the eating condition of stone fruit is proving a hit with suppliers and their customers.
In the process, the fruit is kept in special chambers after harvesting, heat-treated and then held in cold storage.
Alan Guindi, commercial director of the Richard Hochfeld Group, which imports a range of Chilean fruit such as plums, peaches and nectarines for Tesco, said: “It is a complicated, lengthy process and should not be confused with pre-ripening.”
Following a year’s trial, Guindi said RHG was aiming for 90% of its overall shipments to be treated.
Guindi agreed with other trade sources that weather damage reported in Chile would not have a major effect on stone fruit volumes, though cherries had been hit.
Meanwhile, grapes, Chile’s largest export crop, appeared to have come through unscathed, he said. Fruit is already being shipped and is set to arrive at the end of this month.