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Sun Pacific expands California table grape offerings, adds industry veterans

Sun Pacific, grower of Cuties and Mighties, continues to expand its table grape offerings to meet consumer demand for variety, premium quality and organic offerings.

This season, the Pasadena, CA-based company will offer 16 conventional and eight organic varietals, including the addition of Krissy, Timpson, Allison and Great Green varieties, all sold under the Air Chief brand.

Sun Pacific has also added additional leadership to drive the company's growth in table grapes, announcing Melissa Heinrich as vice president of vineyard category development and Peter Donaldson as the head of grape quality assurance and packaging.

Heinrich will oversee Sun Pacific's grape and kiwi programs. She previously spent the past 10 years at Walmart Stores and most recently worked as senior director of sourcing for Walmart Global Food Sourcing, where she managed the sourcing fruits and vegetables from California for more than 4,000 stores. Prior to her time at Walmart, she was in field buying for Albertson's stores based in Salinas, CA.

Donaldson will manage domestic and export programs, in addition to collaboration on quality control, product specification and standards for Sun Pacific grapes. Donaldson brings 30 years of experience in the table grape industry, working across business, sales, marketing, production, and packaging, in California, Mexico and Chile. Previously, he spent 20 years with Sunview Marketing.

"Sun Pacific is committed to continuing to grow this high-demand category," Barney Evans, owner and vice president of sales for Sun Pacific, said in a press release. "The addition of Melissa and Peter brings experience and enthusiasm that will allow us to continue to enhance what we provide our retail partners -- high flavor programs that deliver what consumers want in fresh, delicious grapes picked at the peak of flavor and available in the best varieties."

Recent research shows that grapes are the third most popular fruit in the United States, with 52 percent of U.S. shoppers purchasing grapes once per week or more. To fulfill on this popularity, retailers are looking for quality and variety of grapes.

In addition to offering Air Chief grapes, this season marks the launch of Sun Pacific's partnership with Sun World, the company with the world's longest-standing private table grape breeding program. Through this partnership, Sun Pacific will grow and market popular proprietary branded varieties, including Scarlotta Seedless, Autumncrisp and Adora Seedless.

Sun Pacific provides a complete supply chain solution, from grape variety selection to growing and packing grapes on their own ranches to sales, shipping, and marketing. The company also offers customized programs and packaging options, including pouch bags, clamshells and universal footprint cases to fit the specific needs of retailers.