Every Year Unique
“Whilst this season has generally been later than last year due to the cold snap in late spring eating quality has been consistently outstanding”, says Nick Marston, Managing Director of Berry Gardens at Fruit Focus. Nick continues, “the good weather over the last few weeks tied in perfectly with Wimbledon and strawberry availability was good throughout the tournament. In fact Berry Gardens recorded their biggest ever week with total sales of £9.8million in the first week of Wimbledon”.
Strawberry tonnage is already level with last year, inspite of a later season with sales price the same. We expect total sales to supermarkets at the end of the season will exceed 20,000 tonnes – the largest volume achieved since 2011 and representing 7.5% volume growth year on year.
Although a later main season the Berry Gardens co-operative started picking in glasshouses on the 4th March and are forecast to continue to November with the help of continued grower investment in tunneled crops and glasshouses heated by Bio-mass boilers.
Nick continues, “Berry Gardens early season sales, (between early March to mid May) increased from 885 tonnes in 2014 to 1,210 tonnes this year, representing growth of 37%. A high proportion of which was Driscoll’s® Lusa™– a superb early glasshouse strawberry offering an improvement on current mainstream glasshouse varieties”.
“This season has certainly kept us on our toes, says Alastair Brooks, Chairman of Berry Gardens, and thanks to our grower’s ongoing investment in their businesses and our exclusive access to Driscoll’s varieties we are able to consistently deliver outstanding quality strawberries. Our standard strawberry quality and offer will be substantially upgraded over the coming years as the new generation Driscoll’s June bearers such as Driscoll’s® Rosalie™ come into large scale production”.
According to Kantar1 the strawberry market is valued at £505million, an increase of 2.5% year on year and accounts for 52.5% of the total berry market. Penetration has slightly reduced by 1.4% however purchase frequency has increased to 12 times a year.
“The discounters continue to see significant growth year on year, and an increase in the formats offered by the ‘main’ retailers has made the market larger but more complex, says Nick. As a supplier we have actively supported the retailers in offering different solutions to the ever changing shopping patterns of UK consumers. This year we have introduced a shelf ready convenience pack for Tesco retailing at only a £1 as well as a 1kg strawberry box perfect for entertaining.
Under the premium strawberry market Berry Gardens have introduced the new Driscoll’s® Elizabeth™ June bearer as part of the Jubilee Selections brand. Driscoll’s® Elizabeth™ with its exceptionally sweet flavour has been included in the retailers top tier and will be available until the end of August. Over the last month it has been supported with social media activity and received well by customers.
For media enquiries and images please contact – Janine Hatfield, Communications Manager, Berry Gardens Ltd. Tel: 01892 838800. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Kantar Worldpanel strawberry market share data for 52 weeks prior to week ending 21st June 2015