Improved varieties of black and red seedless grapes

are leading to a switch in

consumer demand influenced by convenience and taste, according to Martin Dunnett, trading director

of Capespan UK.

"Currently, the balance is about 30% coloured grape and 70% white, with emphasis on Thompson Seedless," he said. "But we expect the pattern of purchase to reach 50-50 in the next few years. We seem to be following a similar pattern to the US."

Dunnett said that the surge had initially been led by Red and Crimson Seedless. In South Africa, which is a major supplier to the UK, these are being grown in

increasing quantities.