Berry Gardens News

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Super Strawberry Season

“This year has been in complete contrast to 2013 with the UK strawberry season starting three weeks early following an exceptionally mild spring, we have supplied over 90% more strawberries to the market between March – June this year compared to last year1”, says Nicholas Marston, Managing Director of Berry Gardens at Fruit Focus. Nicholas continues, “As a co-operative with growers throughout the UK Berry Gardens has been able to meet demand with the early English tunnelled crops followed by Scottish crops which now provide a significant proportion of the UK strawberry production. Strawberries have eaten really well this year and have delivered outstanding quality. Retailers have supported the peak in June and this continued throughout the Wimbledon fortnight with instore support and tactical promotions.”

The latest Kantar data2 shows that the strawberry market is valued at £493million which represents an increase of +13.2% over the last 52 weeks with Berry Gardens market share consistently over 30%. The latest British Summer Fruit figures shows UK strawberry sales up 87% year on year, although this is somewhat distorted as 2013 was such a late season, it is generally predicted that the strawberry category will grow by a minimum of 10% year on year.

Looking forward Berry Gardens continue to work closely with their strategic partner Driscoll’s® and three Driscoll’s® varieties, Diamond™, Scarlet™ and the super sweet Jubilee™ have dominated this season’s taste tests. Alastair Brooks, the recently appointed Chairman of Berry Gardens continues “as berry growers we are constantly challenged by retail customers to produce berries of outstanding quality with exceptional taste whilst not compromising shelf life. By working with partners such as Driscoll’s® and the East Malling Research Centre, Berry Gardens can meet those challenges head on.”

Mr Marston agrees “although Jubilee™ remains the queen of the crop there are several new exciting varieties currently in development, for example the Driscoll’s® June bearer, TUK series has produced good yields during trials and consumers will savour it’s exceptionally sweet flavour”.

“In conclusion, we still have several months of UK production to enjoy and this year is forecast to be a bumper year, due to the early season and the British public’s ongoing love of strawberries” says Mr Marston.

For media enquiries and images please contact – Janine Hatfield - PR, Media and Communications Officer, Berry Gardens Ltd. Tel: 01892 838800.

1. Berry Gardens sales volumes March to June 2013 - 4,066 tonnes vs March to June 2014 - 7,814 tonnes
2. Kantar Worldpanel strawberry market share data for 52 weeks prior to week ending 22nd June 2014.