Berry Yearbook 2016 - page 4

W
hilstmost growing regions enjoyed
a successful yearwith their berry
growing andmarketing, therewere local
patches of disappointment, mainly
associatedwithprevailingpoorweather
conditions in specific geographical areas.
Overall 2015will be recorded as a
record-breaking tonnage year, withhigh
levels of productionmatchedby
substantial sales, alliedwith the
achievement of high customer
satisfaction.
BerryGardens (theUK’s largest supply
cooperative), ManagingDirector, Nicholas
Marston, provided a ‘finger on the berry-
growingpulse’ after the completionof a
long and successful season. This threwup
a number of positive observations and a
few cursory concerns.
Withberry supplies so susceptible to
changes in theweather at farm and retail
levels, they retain volatility, anddemand
maximum flexibility inmanagement, to
keep the supplymatched todemand as
the highly perishable productsmove into
andout of the supply chain.
All statistics available fromBritish
Summer Fruits for all theUK’smajor berry
crops (strawberries, raspberries,
blackberries andblueberries) confirm that
theUKwas ‘firingon all cylinders’ in
2015, with analysis suggesting there is
still yetmore room for further growth.
“I certainly recognise growth in the
future aswe extend the peakweeks of
production into a longer time-scale, and
take a biggermarket sharewith specific
berries substituting imports for a longer
part of the season,” saidNicholas
Marston.
“KANTAR statistics reveal phenomenal
penetration (the%of UK consumers
buyingUK berries) in the strawberry
sector – a remarkable 77.3% (76.0+% in
2014) and38.8%penetration in
raspberries, and43.4% inblueberries
(37% in2014), with the blueberrymarket
showing23%growthoverall.
This positive data has tobe tempered
with caution, as there are a number of
rocks hiding just ‘below thewater line’,
almost all associatedwith labour costs
within the berry industry.
“The berry industry has always had
muchof its fortune enmeshed in labour
issues, none greater than the European
in/out debate, and the impact on
margins of the increases in theNational
LivingWage, a central Government
strategy,” observedNicholas.
“Growers need tobe aware of these
2015 SEASON
REVIEW
4
Plentiful supplymatched by demand
feature of 2015 season
NicholasMarston,MD of BerryGardens remains
optimistic that berry sales can be further developed
in the future.
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