Spanish persimmon growers have predicted a volume increase of between 10 and 15 per cent thanks to the dry summer producing high-quality fruit.
Growers in the Ribera del Xquer region marketed 90,000 tonnes of fruit in the 2014-15 season, of which 46,000t was certified as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), and 4,000t was marketed in the UK. Spanish Persimon is the trademarked name for PDO-certified Spanish fruit.
Since marketing in the UK began, sales have grown from a few thousand boxes to approximately 20 million fruits in the 2015-16 season.
The news comes as the Spanish persimmon season kicks off, backed by a new marketing campaign that focuses on the value of the PDO certification, in terms of provenance, quality and taste.
Run by UK agency Red Communications, activity has previously centred on encouraging consumers to try persimmon, but this year's campaign will instead focus on highlighting the value in PDO, compared to non-branded, persimmon.
“During the last decade, with the support of annual promotion in stores and in the media, we have seen PDO Spanish Persimon move from being widely unknown in the UK to regularly outselling fruits include mangoes and kiwifruits in supermarkets,” said Rafael Perucho, head of the regulatory council Kaki de la Ribera del Xquer. “We are now launching a new focus for our campaign and looking forward to building on this success.”
Perucho said the campaign was designed in response to non-certified persimmon arriving on the market, and which does not conform to the same standards.
“Fruit from Ribera del Xquer is granted PDO status because of specific production, soils, growing conditions that produce its unique shape, appearance, flavour and all round greater quality,” he said.
“We want to make sure this difference is clearly understood throughout the supply chain. Meanwhile, we will be working with supportive importers and retailers, with the media and on social media, to communicate with consumers. We want them to understand that Persimon is certified in the same way as, for example, PDO Manchego cheese, Serrano ham or Rioja wine, meaning Persimon is the very best persimmon they can eat.”
Spanish Persimon will be on the menu at several Spanish restaurants in London during the season, alongside a card explaining what is special about PDO fruit and the chance to win a meal for two.
One Spanish restaurant will also develop a platter of PDO foods, including Spanish Persimon, to be delivered to food writers.
The campaign is also working with retailers to include short video content about PDO-certified Persimon and recipe ideas on their websites and social media, and consumer information on packs, coupled with PDO branding at the point of sale.