Monday 29th October 2012, 14:38 London
High hopes for Spanish persimmon
Greater UK sales are already being reported this season as the industry looks to better record numbers seen in 2011/12
Spanish persimmon growers are aiming to better last year's record sales in the UK as the new season gets underway, after selling some 5.2m pieces of the fruit in the country during 2011/12 – an increase from 2m persimmon sold in 2010/11.
The fruit, which is available in the UK from October to January, is marketed as persimon, and is grown in the Ribera del Xúquer valley in the Valencia region.
So far this season, one UK retailer is already reporting record sales of the fruit, an increase that is expected to continue in the lead-up to Christmas, with the chain forecasting double the amount of sales on the previous campaign.
"Over the past few years we have seen tremendous growth in our European markets, and particularly in the UK, and we are confident these markets will continue to expand this year," said Rafael Perucho, head of the Kaki de la Ribera del Xúquer Plaça regulatory council, which controls the DO certification for the fruit. Growing conditions so far this season have been good and we are expecting a succesful, high-quality crop."
Growers are forecasting a 15 per cent increase on last year's production total of 50,000 tonnes, with some growers switching from stonefruit to persimmon as the market grows.
The fruit is being promoted in store and in the media by Foods from Spain with the strapline 'Spanish persimon, have you tried one yet?'. The marketing campaign includes consumer sampling events and educational labels on packs in supermarkets and editorial features in the online and printed press.
The campaign also features an online demonstration video with tips on preparing and eating persimmon, sampling to journalists and restaurants, and a children's mascot - Pedro Persimon.
"The 2012 campaign aims to educate consumers about the persimon fruit - how to prepare it, how to eat it and when it's in season," explained María José Sevilla, director of Foods from Spain. "Persimon is growing in popularity in the UK, thanks to our ongoing campaign and the willingness of the retailers to get behind this lovely fruit. We are looking forward to seeing further developments this season."