South African campaign highlights the health benefits of incorporating raisins into snacks

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Raisins are an excellent addition to anything from granola to nutrition bars and trail mixes. Pic: GettyImages/pamela_d_macadams
Raisins are an excellent addition to anything from granola to nutrition bars and trail mixes. Pic: GettyImages/pamela_d_macadams

Related tags raisins Raisins South Africa Fibre Antioxidants

Raisins South Africa is punting the benefits of the punchy dried grape, proudly shouting its health benefits and advantages in being incorporated into snacking innovations, while correcting the misconceptions around dried fruit.

According to the trade body and nonprofit, raisins are a natural health powerhouse and packed full of nutrients, including fibre, iron, calcium and antioxidants. The fact that most of the water is extracted from dried fruits means their nutrients are concentrated, and a further benefit comes from the fact that just a 30g portion counts as one-of-your-five-a-day, compared to 80g of fresh fruit.

Raisins South Africa has launch a campaign to spread spread the word about the punchy dried grape to UK consumers and product developers, proudly touting its benefits as well as correcting misconceptions around raisins and dental health. It comes as health studies recommend switching from confectionery and biscuits to consuming more dried and fresh fruit. Versatile raisins offer plentiful ways to be incorporated into snacks.

Recent research has found that, despite perception, dried fruit is not more detrimental to dental health than fresh fruits and veggies. In fact, a mounting body of evidence is finding that the sugar intake of raisin lovers is actually lower, as the dried fruit is the ideal better-for-you alternative to sugary snacks and added sugars.

“We hope to inspire UK consumers to see raisins as a delicious, healthy product that is easy to incorporate into their diets,”​ said Ferdie Botha, CEO of Raisins SA.

“Over the years there has been a lot of misunderstanding around the raisins and their sugar content, but we want to reassure consumers of the wide-ranging and positive health benefits of eating these delicious products.”

Raisins SA’s UK campaign both promotes the benefits of South African product as well as the health credentials of raisins. It highlights how raisins fit into the current trend for plant-based diets and underlines producers’ sustainability efforts on the farm.

The promotional push includes organic content and advertising on social media channels, aiming to inspire consumers to incorporate South African raisins in their diets through beautiful imagery and delicious recipes.

The initiative comes at a time when South African raisin production is on the increase. The 2022 crop is estimated at 67 thousand tonnes, up from 59 thousand tonnes within a few months.

Raisin facts

Raisins posteriori
Pic: GettyImages

South African raisins are produced in the Orange River region in the Northern Cape (88% of total annual production ) and Olifants River region in the Western Cape (12%).

These regions experience exceptional levels of sunshine: on average 10.5 hours every day between January and March, which is when the fruit is harvested and naturally sundried. The normally dry, sunny climate – along with the ample supply of water from the rivers – makes ideal growing conditions to produce the highest quality raisins with world-leading shelf life, colour and flavour.

Average temperatures during harvesting/drying period range from 33°C to 38°C (and even up to 45°C). Winters are cold early mornings and evenings, with frequent frost (with average temps around 20°C-24°C, but with a rare spurt down to -8°C). The Orange River region normally receives 150-180mm of rainfall per annum.

There are 700 growers of South African raisins, working on over 1,000 farms.

The three main raisin varieties are Merbein Seedless, Sultana Seedless and Selma Pete, but other varieties include Sugra 39 and Flame Seedless. The main product produced is Thompsons, Goldens, SA Sultana (previously known as WP) and Orange River (OR Sultana).

There are seven processors of South African raisins: the big four represent 85% of the total industry, two mid-size packers (14%) and one small but very focused supplier (1%).

20-25% of South African dried fruit is exported to Germany, the largest export market for SA raisins, due to the market favouring product that has no or minimum residues.

Raisins South Africa is the mouthpiece of a new and transformed industry, in collaboration with government and other stakeholders, and playing a vital role in advancing growers’ interests.

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