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The fresh produce industry will welcome news from the Met Office predicting that temperatures will remain in excess of 30˚C well into the weekend, with salad sales rising dramatically with the sun.

In the first week of July, bagged-salads brand Florette bettered its all-time highest weekly sales record by 25 per cent, with sales up an impressive 70 per cent year on year.

Sandy Sewell, commercial director at Florette, said the UK public has gone salad-crazy due to the sun. “The warm weather we’ve had over the past few weeks has seen the UK firmly switch into the salad mind-set. When the heat rises people move from having vegetables as a meal accompaniment to salad and they head outdoors to enjoy al fresco eating, which salad is perfect for.”

Tesco told FPJ that it sold 1.5 million bags of salad and nearly two million cucumbers last weekend. The UK’s leading supermarket also reported a surge in sales of fruit, selling 150,000 pineapples and 550,000 melons, with respective year-on-year sales increases of 20 and 40 per cent.

“Normally UK growers and producers will need two consecutive weekends of heat to see a substantial increase in their sales and we’ve certainly had that,” said Anthony Gardiner, marketing director at G’s Fresh.

Gardiner added the UK is seeing the longest period of prolonged sun in five years and the producer’s salad sales over the last week rose 50 per cent year on year.

Sarah Baldock, innovation director at bagged-salad producer Natures Way Foods, added that sales will keep on shining. She concluded: “If the weather remains consistent, this growth will continue through to the end of July. I think we will see increases in customer numbers staying with the category well into the autumn.”

Meanwhile, Phil Morley of the Tomato Growers Association said the sun is welcomed by British growers after a difficult season, with overall yields down five per cent, creating an “over-reliance” by retailers on imported tomatoes in recent weeks.