News and insight for North America's fresh produce buyers
Steven Maxwell

BY STEVEN MAXWELL

Tuesday 20th May 2008, 18:00 Central Time

Berry campaign offers seasonal focus

A new soft fruit promotion for the UK market will highlight the seasonal qualities of domestic berries as well as those sourced in season from Chile and Spain

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Seasonality in fresh soft fruit is set to be the focus of a brand-new UK marketing campaign, which will focus on the seasonal qualities of berries from the UK, Chile and Spain. This was one of the key announcements from last week's Global Berry Congress organised by Eurofruit Magazine, the first-ever international event of its kind to focus on this dynamic sector.

The event, which met from 15-16 May in London, attracted more than 250 delegates from 24 countries, reflecting the growing importance of berries within the global fresh produce market.

One of the highlights of the Congress was the announcement that the UK berry sector is to launch a brand new campaign called Seasonal Berries, designed to celebrate the seasonality not only of British berries but also imported fruit from key supply sources including Chile and Spain.

The 12-month campaign, which will replace the existing British Summer Fruits and Winter Berries campaigns, will begin next month in time for the start of the UK berry season and, according to Kate Shanahan of marketing agency Sputnik Communications, has been designed to help sustain growth in the UK berry market. "There is a perception among consumers that imported berries taste worse than UK ones, so there are going to be new opportunities to prove them wrong," she told delegates.

The new campaign comes as delegates learnt that the year-on-year market value of the berry segment in the UK has risen by 14.1 per cent to €96.1m so far this year (to the week ending 20 April 2008), according to Edward Garner, research director at TNS Worldpanel. "The market trend for berries in the UK is remarkably positive, with sales nearly doubling in the past seven years," he said.

However, Nigel Kerby, managing director of Mylnefield Research Services, did sound a note of caution among the predictions of sales success. Mr Kerby warned that climate change is likely to have a "serious affect" on the global berry sector, while water efficiency is also likely to become a major concern.

Oscar Verges, director of leading Spanish berry and stonefruit grower and marketer Royal, also said access to water is likely to become increasing important for berry growers. "All berries need water to grow and a lot of it, and I believe water will be the scarce resource of the 21st century," he said.

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