Eurofruit Magazine's August front cover, which is a perfumesque paean to Portugal’s most famous pear variety, the Rocha, may be a bit too glamorous for some in the trade, but our point is that very few product varieties in this business are truly able to function like brands and command a premium over other competing varieties without the support of a large-scale and expensive marketing concept.

In effect, Rocha is a naturally occurring, geographically ring-fenced club variety. It is only grown in Portugal – making it more rare and more highly prized – and as long as the rest of the European pear crop isn’t too large, demand should always be reasonably strong across many of the EU’s major consumer markets. In contrast, other pear varieties like Conference, or types of apple such as Gala and Braeburn, are produced in such vast quantities in several different countries that they no longer stand out as extraordinary; their prevalence consigns them to the mass market, to a commodity-driven model of buying and selling, and ultimately to private label.

Ultimately, one of the toughest challenges in this business is to create a brand that so inspires consumers they are willing to pay a premium. If successful, it can convince retailers to stock the branded item rather than a cheaper alternative. Pink Lady has managed to do this for apples, even convincing Asda to reconsider its experiment with selling private label Cripps Pink. But the costs involved in developing consumer brands are huge; retailers prefer to sell their own labels; and competition from other industries remains fierce.

For those reasons, the fact that Fyffes’ famous blue label has achieved such a strong following is all the more impressive. The world’s oldest fruit brand celebrated its 80th anniversary last month and it evidently still offers customers and consumers something they feel is worth paying for. Long may that continue…