Good news on fresh produce

26 September 2012

Even as producers cope with yet more appalling weather, and the doom-merchants in the retail market peddle a bit more gloom, it’s not all bad news from  our licensees…

Adam Wakeley, Ethical Fruit Co & Organic Farm Foods
Adam Wakeley"We’re seeing quite a mixed picture with regards to YOY growth. Some lines are quite flat but others are exceeding all expectations, with the most impressive growth in the more premium products like grapes and pink lady apples. Overall growth is running at about 15% for organic fruit.

“The key is continued retailer support and focus. Organic produce attracts a premium consumer who goes on to spend 3x times more per shopping basket than the consumer who buys no organics. And this hasn’t been lost on our leading UK retailers: they all want to attract those customers into their stores. In order to do that they need range, quality and value – and to allocate shelf space. Which to date has been delivered.

“Demand in the USA is in double-digit growth and this seems set to hold for the foreseeable future. Historically, the UK has followed behind the US market and we’ve already seen the early signs of the UK beginning to reflect that change in consumer spending.

“In fresh  produce, it seems the message of fruit being grown without pesticides is again resonating with consumers for health reasons, as the connection with long-term health issues related to pesticides becomes more and more apparent."

Andrew Burgess, Produce World

“It’s been a very interesting, very challenging season. Too much rain, not enough sunlight… we’ve been chasing the crop.

“With potatoes, blight has been a major problem. But with carrots and parsnips, we’ve had some fantastic quality. We’ve been taking the crop young, and there must be a lesson there. We’ve seen some of the best pack-outs we’ve ever had.

“And our new packaging design for Sainsburys own-brand has had an impact.  We’ve had to sacrifice some biodegradability moving from translucent to clear packaging, which is a bit of a step back. But the result has been that customers can see the quality, and it’s led to a strong growth in sales.

“Organic for the sake of it is less important – it’s now more about the quality and the flavour. As a barometer, I get the feeling organic is creeping back up the agenda for retailers. I can feel it just beginning: a bit more warmth towards organic.”

Rob Haward, Riverford Organic Farms

Rob HawardFor a copy of Rob’s 2012 brand-perspective trade, email for a licensee log-in for the download.

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