Postharvest losses in quantity and quality of table grape (Cv. crimson seedless) along the supply chain and associated economic, environmental and resource impacts

Anelle Blanckenberg, Umezuruike Linus Opara, Olaniyi Amos Fawole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


High incidence of postharvest losses is a major challenge to global food security. Addressing postharvest losses is a better strategy to increase business efficiency and improve food security rather than simply investing more resources to increase production. Global estimates show that fruit and vegetables are the highest contributors to postharvest losses and food waste, with 45% of production lost. This represents 38% of total global food losses and waste. However, the lack of primary data on postharvest losses at critical steps in the fruit value chain and the unknown economic, environmental and resource impacts of these losses makes it difficult to formulate mitigation strategies. This paper quantifies postharvest losses and quality attributes of ‘Crimson Seedless’ table grapes at farm and simulated retail levels. Table grapes were sampled from four farms in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, the largest deciduous fruit production and export region in Southern Africa. Mean on-farm losses immediately after harvest was 13.9% in 2017 and 5.97% in 2018, ranging from 5.51% to 23.3% for individual farms. The main reason for on-farm losses was mechanical damage (7.1%). After 14 days in cold storage (−0.3 ± 0.7 C, 81.3 ± 4.1% RH), mean grape losses were 3.05% in 2017 and 2.41% in 2018, which increased to 7.41% in 2017 and 2.99% in 2018, after 28 days. After 10 days of further storage under simulated market conditions (5.4 ± 0.6 C, 83.7 ± 2.9% RH), fruit losses were 3.65% during retail marketing and 4.36% during export. Storing grapes under ambient conditions (25.1 ± 1.3 C and 46.6 ± 6.0% RH) resulted in a higher incidence of losses, increasing from 7.03 to 9.59 and 14.29% after 3, 7 and 10 days, respectively. The socioeconomic impacts of these postharvest losses amounted to financial losses of over ZAR 279 million (USD 17 million according to the conversion rate of 20 October 2020) annually, and this was associated with the loss of 177.43 million MJ of fossil energy, 4.8 million m3 of fresh water and contributed to the emission of approximately 52,263 tons of CO2 equivalent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4450
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021


  • Decay
  • Food waste
  • Physicochemical properties
  • Postharvest losses
  • SO damage
  • Shelf-life
  • Socioeconomic impacts
  • Stem browning
  • Table grape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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