Suppliers have been carrying out a wide range of activity in recent months across a number of UK retailers

Extensive promotional activity has put South African stonefruit ”at the front of consumer and retailer minds” in recent months, as the marketing campaign looks to highlight both the quality of product and consistency of supply.

South African plums UK retail display 2023

Suppliers of South African stone fruit have been carrying out a wide range of activity in recent months across a number of UK retailers.

This has included sampling at Tesco head office featuring Flavor King plums, as well as Tiffany and Diamond Ray nectarines, with the event seen as an opportunity to engage directly with consumers and transmit key campaign messages.

Branded shroud units were displayed in 425 Morrisons stores across the UK from 30 January to 12 February, with punnets selling for 99p and driving volume sales of plums during peak export windows.

Some 250,000 branded booklets were also inserted into plum punnets in Sainsbury’s from 16 January, with the booklet outlining campaign themes as well as featuring a recipe and the chance to win a trip to South Africa. The competition received over 13,000 entries.

From 15 March to 11 April, a point-of-sale shelf barker is running in Waitrose to promote mid-tier yellow South African nectarines, with a further promotional offer on South African plums running from 14 March.

According to Hortgro, suppliers and service providers have taken a ”key role” in what has been a collaborative promotional effort.

DPS supplied fruit and took part in the Tesco sampling, Primafruit helped plan the Waitrose push, and Fruit Logic supported the organisational work and booklet insertion in the Sainsbury’s initiative.

“We are delighted to have carried out such wide-ranging activity in UK retailers,” said Jacques du Preez, general manager of trade and market at the deciduous fruit producer body.

“At a time when supermarkets are having to deal with shortages in a number of other categories, the plentiful availability and high quality of South African stonefruit is put into even greater focus.”

Suppliers have said that 2023 has provided the “perfect opportunity” to showcase the best of South African stonefruit following a troubled 2021/22 season that was affected by port delays and an unreliable vessel schedule.

Instead, this season features ”top eating quality and a steady supply of fruit”.

“Our approach for 2022/23 has been to give our customers confidence that stonefruit can deliver the desired expectations after such a difficult season in 2021/22,” one supplier explained. “We now want to build on this for 2023/24, and the only way we can do this is by continuing to deliver a consistent eating product.”

There is also further excitement coming down the line in terms of new product development.

“We continue to be impressed by varietal development seen in nectarine varieties from the PSB and Zaiger breeding programmes and remain excited by red-flesh plum varieties that lead into Flavor King, and then continue that range after Flavor King,” the supplier added.