UK-based Worldwide Fruit has strengthened its stonefruit offer with the signing of a deal to sell new apricot and plum varieties originally developed in France.
Under the terms of the agreement with French group Cot International, the marketing and distribution specialist has acquired the exclusive rights to produce and sell the varieties in its home market.
The move bolsters an already broad range of produce that WFL supplies to the UK’s leading supermarkets, including apples, pears, avocados and berries.
According to its stonefruit technical manager Pete Keyzers, the market potential is clear. “The UK has traditionally been a strong producer of plums, and in more recent years it’s now been proven we can grow apricots successfully,” he explains. “To move forward, we need continuously to improve the varietal offer for both growers and consumers alike. We believe this agreement with Cot International will enable us to drive that forward.”
Stonefruit procurement manager Nick Wing agrees. For him, the importance of securing better types of plum and apricot is key: “Cot International was the pioneer of UK-grown apricots, with their Tomcot and Flavorcot varieties being one of the first commercially grown quality apricot crops here. Apricot varietal development though is moving at a fast pace, and we now need to bring the next level of genetics through.”
Marie Laure Eteve, managing director of Cot International, welcomes the opportunity to extend the breeding company’s reach across the English Channel. “For Cot International, it is a great pride that our plum and apricot varieties can be grown in the UK in a quality way with our partnership with Worldwide Fruit,” she comments.