Asda has been awarded the title of South African Stonefruit Retailer of the Year for its performance in the category during the winter season.
Hortgro, the association that represents South African fruit growers, gives the award to one UK retailer every year, based on factors including growth in the most recent season and during the last four years, and overall support for the fruit.
During the 2012-13 season, Asda achieved a sales increase for South African peaches, nectarines and plums of more than 40 per cent year on year.
Presenting the award, Jacques du Preez, product manager for top fruit and stonefruit at Hortgro, said: “Selling plums, peaches and nectarines in the UK winter has always presented a challenge, as many consumers traditionally regard these as summer fruits. This was certainly the case this latest season, where we saw sustained cold weather while the fruit was on shelves. It makes the healthy upward trend in the UK market in general and Asda’s performance in the category in particular, all the more exciting.
“Our UK partners have been incredibly supportive of the 'Beautiful Country, Beautiful Fruit' campaign for South African produce. Between 2009-10 and 2012-13 we have seen stonefruit volumes grow in the largest four retailers by more than 60 per cent. It demonstrates clearly what can be achieved with sustained and well-focused collaborative promotional activity in the fresh produce category.”
Asda’s stonefruit buyer, Elio Biondo, said: “I’m really proud of the great work we have done in South Africa over the years. Working directly with some of the best growers in the country has led to sustained quality improvement while offering the best value to our customers."