Turnover has risen 1.2 per cent at AG Thames thanks to strong growth in the fruit supplier's soft-fruit businesses.
The fresh produce group, which is the parent company of Chingford Fruit and CPM Retail among other companies, saw revenues increase by £2.8m to £243.9m in the 12 months to 30 September 2016.
This was largely driven by an increase in soft-fruit sales, which rose for the second year running, up £18m – a 26 per cent increase on the previous year.
Pre-tax profits were also up £2.8m to £4.2m thanks to efficiency savings and the non-recurrence of last year’s impairment costs.
Growth in the supplier’s berry businesses, which include CPM Retail and Soloberry, underlines the recent announcement that UK berry sales now equate to a fifth of total fruit consumption in the UK, according to industry body British Summer Fruits.
Chairman for the AG Thames group, Leon Aichen, said the business had responded to competitive market conditions and implemented efficiency savings to help reduce costs for 2016.
“The key drivers of our sales growth this year include the continued success of the raspberry variety Adelita which has recorded another year of really strong growth,” Aichen said.
This was complemented by “increased consumer demand for blueberries, which have seen continued market growth since their superfood health messaging hit a chord with UK consumers,” he added.
The group chairman confirmed that, following an in-depth review of its produce supply chain, the company’s largest customer had confirmed AG Thames as “one of its major fresh fruit suppliers in the new supply model”.
However he warned that while the group was "encouraged by the outcome", it was expecting turnover and profit to fall "due to the structure of the new model".
“The 2016 performance gives AG Thames a strong platform to compete in what will undoubtedly be an extremely challenging market," Aichen said. "Our work with high-quality growers and trusted suppliers around the world will continue to be the cornerstone to our business.”