Chambers, one of the UK’s leading independent berry growers, has announced a significant expansion of the grower network that enables the business to deliver a year-round berry offering to its customers – including many of the major multiple retailers.
Chambers currently produces berries and stone fruit at 14 locations in the UK, but outside of the domestic growing season, berries are sourced from collaborative growers around the world to ensure a seamless 52-week supply. This grower network has now risen to include 17 countries, representing a 100% increase on the previous year and includes Mexico, Guatemala, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Romania, Serbia, Poland, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Kenya. The business specialises in raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, cherry and, more recently, blueberry production, and has worked tirelessly over the last four years to identify overseas partner-growers who share the company’s commitment to outstanding quality and innovation.
Image to right – Chambers’ Production and Operations Director, Salih Hodzhov visiting a grower in Morocco
Commenting on the strengthened network of partner-growers, Managing Director Tim Chambers said, “Chambers was established in 1950 and has grown from a family business to become one of the largest independent cane-fruit growers in the UK, with a production area spanning 400ha and propagating 1.5m plants per annum, for production in the UK and selected European sites. Whilst the business has expanded, our founding principles – which focus on quality, provenance, traceability and supplying the freshest berries direct from the farm – remain true. The extended network of growers means that we are well-placed to service the needs of the UK, as well as overseas markets, with exports showing a 218% year-on-year increase. Our ability to ship our product on the same day as it is picked (or in the case of product arriving from our partner growers, on the same day as its arrival at a UK port) means that our produce enjoys a longer shelf-life, represents lower food-miles and fits with our customer’s desire to reduce their carbon footprint. Balance this with the fact that our lean supply chain means a reduction in costs and the Chambers proposition represents an attractive offer, especially since, according to industry sources, berry sales have risen by 132% in the UK over the last 10 years and the category is predicted to be worth almost £2bn by 2020.”