UK raspberry growers are tipping their season to last into early November this year as they continue to extend the soft fruit season.
As raspberries enter peak harvest, British Summer Fruits are reporting a top quality crop, with growers saying the recent warm, humid weather with some showers has increased their sweetness.
The leading raspberry varieties grown in the UK have the ability to flower and fruit over a long period of up to five months, whilst traditional types typically produced fruit for just a four to six-week period.
Since June last year, almost £350 million worth of raspberries have been sold in the UK with shoppers spending 10 per cent more on the classically British berry than in the previous year.
In the last four weeks alone, British shoppers have bought 30 per cent more raspberries than they did at the same time last year
Nutritionist Emma Derbyshire said: “Raspberries are a powerful source of nutrients including vitamin C, manganese, dietary fibre and polyphenols which are thought to have potent antioxidant properties.
“There is a growing body of evidence that raspberries could play a valuable role in helping to maintain wellbeing, as part of a heart healthy diet. Their mechanisms are in need of further study, but it is thought that their consumption may help to regulate and maintain healthy metabolic activities in our body’s cells.”
Nick Marston, chairman of British Summer Fruits, the industry body that represents 95 percent of berries supplied to UK supermarkets said: “Raspberries are a healthy, delicious British berry which should be enjoyed by consumers throughout the summer months. They are perfect as a snack, as part of a picnic or for baking.
“As an industry, we always strive to deliver the highest quality and tastiest fruit to our customers. Ongoing innovations in the industry allow us to prioritise sweetness and flavour which has helped these wonderful berries become a very popular fruit in shopper’s baskets.”
Berries, including raspberries, have the biggest market share of all fruit grown in the UK, making up an impressive 26 percent, and this has pushed the value of the berry industry over £1.5 billion. Fresh berries are now the most popular fruit item in shoppers’ baskets and their great health credentials are one big reason for their popularity.