British Apples & Pears hosts virtual trade event

British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL), held its annual trade event on 19 May. Growers, retailers and other key partners discussed prominent issues affecting the industry, including COVID-19. BAPL also reinforced its confident growth strategy, which included plans for the coming season launch.

Whilst the event was originally planned as a face-to-face briefing, BAPL was determined for the event to go ahead. The interactive webinar was hosted by Beanstalk.Global, a social enterprise dedicated to promoting the growth of the fresh produce sector. The virtual format allowed participants to ask questions and share views, to encourage knowledge sharing and promote industry collaboration.

The webinar was also an opportunity for BAPL to announce its plans to collaborate with world-renowned chef and apple lover, Raymond Blanc OBE, to launch the 2020 season. Known for his passion for championing local produce, Raymond will be working with BAPL to support the start-of-season campaign which will launch on 5 October and encourage consumers to choose British.

Raymond Blanc, OBE commented: “I have long been passionate about British produce and particularly British apples. Many years ago, I was involved in an apple tasting which truly opened my eyes to the unique flavours that each one offers, as well as to the fantastic growing conditions in this country.  We grow some extraordinary produce here, and it is now more important than ever that we champion that which is home-grown. As Maman Blanc always said, choose food that is close to home, it is not only more nutritious, but it tastes better! I look forward to working with British Apples and Pears to spread this message.”

The event was chaired by Ali Capper, BAPL Chair. Ali led the discussion and shared news about investment and growth in the sector, recruitment plans and how the industry was meeting the challenges of COVID-19. She was joined by key industry representatives on the panel – Ross Goatham of AC Goatham & Son, Tony Harding of Worldwide Fruit Ltd, James Simpson of Adrian Scripps Ltd, Ben Bardsley of Bardsley England and James Smith of Loddington Farm.

Ali Capper, Chair, British Apples & Pears commented: “We were delighted to be able to run our trade briefing in this virtual format. It gave us a great opportunity to be able to share our confidence in this year’s British apple and pear crop. The discussions were very positive and instilled confidence in our industry, as well as a clear vision and strategy for the future. The panel engaged in stimulating discussions surrounding the prominent topic of labour shortages, latest technological developments, impact of Covid-19 and what the future looks like for our businesses as the British apple continues to win market-share and consumer’s hearts across the nation.

This year is challenging in many ways, but our farmers and growers are very resilient. It is shaping up to be a good growing season and we are thrilled to be partnering with Raymond Blanc to increase consumer demand for British apples and pears. This all means that, whatever the challenges, we will deliver a full crop to our retailers and delight the British public.”

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