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Berry Gardens Appoint New Chairman

The 42nd Annual General Meeting of Berry Gardens Growers Limited has been held at the Dakota Hotel, Edinburgh.

In his address to the meeting Chairman Paul Kelsey commented, “2013 was a challenging year with a late start to the season due to an exceptionally cold spring. However Berry Gardens rose to the challenge and, under these difficult circumstances, BGL has delivered an outstanding set of results.

Group turnover was up 2.6% from 2012 to a 2013 figure of £212.8m. The resulting retained profit before tax of £3.6m is the highest the society has ever delivered. This means Berry Gardens will be rebating some £2.8m of commissions to its members and this figure rises to £3.8m when all other 2013 rebates to members are included. To put this into context the society rebated £2.5m in each of the preceding two years”.

Paul continues, “Berry Gardens has invested significantly in its packhouse over the last few years with the project complete in November 2013. The size of the site has almost doubled from 60,000 sq ft to 110,000 sq ft. In addition we have we have also introduced significant upgrades to our internal processes and systems meaning the packhouse is now well positioned to handle the expanding counter season volumes from our partners, Driscoll’s and other growers.”

After more than three years as Chairman, Paul Kelsey will be stepping down and replaced by his Vice-Chairman, Alastair Brooks of Langdon Manor Farm, Kent. As a soft fruit grower, Alastair has been a member of Berry Gardens for 30 years and a Board member since 1994. Alastair states “Berry Gardens continue to lead the industry with their knowledge, experience and access to exclusive varieties from our partnership with Driscoll’s. As a grower co-operative we work with our customers to ensure quality, efficiency and customer satisfaction. The recent good weather has meant an early start to the UK season which we hope bodes well for the rest of the summer.”

Alastair will be supported by Robin Walker as Vice-Chairman. Robin is currently a Non-Executive Director of Berry Gardens with extensive experience in the food industry, most notably with Heinz.