Chestnut suppliers have launched a new UK campaign to promote the fruit in the run up to Christmas, in an attempt to turn around falling sales in the category.
With the strapline 'Winter Chestnuts', the campaign is focusing on how easy the product is to prepare – simply by scoring, soaking and roasting – and how to use them in straightforward seasonal cooking.
The campaign is promoting the product in the consumer press and to food bloggers and other social media users in the run up to Christmas.
Sales of chestnuts have declined in the UK over the last few seasons; one major supermarket saw figures down by almost 17 per cent last year.
“Chestnuts are a traditional and well-loved part of the fresh produce department at this time of the year," said Stuart Baxter of DPS, which supplies chestnuts into the UK multiples. "They are still used in cooking during the season – as an ingredient or food in their own right – so with some simple communications tools we believe there is great potential to revive this category. The response we’ve had from writers and journalists so far has been fantastic.”
Supplies of chestnuts are facing ongoing pressure caused by ageing, and therefore decreasingly productive, European forests.
European growers are also tackling the spread of the chestnut gall wasp, which arrived in the Continent from China. The horticultural pest attacks most species of chestnuts, including most cultivated varieties.