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Carl Collen


Industry unites at Fruit Focus

The event saw over 1,200 UK growers and fresh produce industry representatives come together for demonstrations and discussions

Industry unites at Fruit Focus

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Over 1,200 fresh produce growers and industry representatives travelled to Kent in the UK last week (22 July) to take part in Fruit Focus 2009.

The event, which was held at East Malling Research, featured a combination of crop trials from manufacturers and research bodies, live demonstrations of machinery and equipment in action and farm tours of the latest fruit research, as well as addresses on the sector from key industry players.

In an opening address to visitors, BerryGardens' non-executive director David Hughes said that the UK fruit retail market was not a mature one "by any stretch of the imagination", and that growers were "blessed".

"Retailers want to stock our product and our imagery is so widely used that who could say that our products aren't promoted?," Mr Hughes said.

Mr Hughes noted that unemployment could have a major impact on the fruit sector in the country over the coming year, as it tended to result in a reduction in consumer spending.

"If a supermarket loses 2 per cent in sales they lose half of their net margin, so they will do whatever it takes to get consumers into stores and spending which inevitable means price cuts."

However, he added that there would be plenty of opportunities for suppliers as they offer benefits in the shape of affordable, quality and healthy food.

Next year's Fruit Focus will again take place at East Malling Research in Kent, on 21 July 2010.

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