European Picota suppliers ramp up promotional activity against backdrop of strong season
The qualities of European Picota cherries have been showcased to the UK trade as part of a summer PR campaign to boost awareness and consumption of the fruit.
The event took place in a private function room at Iberica, Marylebone, in London last month. The guests included Picota retail buyers, importers, trade press, representatives from the Spanish Embassy in the UK and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce. The gathering featured an authentic tapas lunch with European Picota cherries at its heart.
The objective of the event was to inform the trade audience of the benefits of the stalkless European Picota cherry, which is known for its premium taste and quality. While slightly smaller than other cherry varieties, Picotas are sweeter, firmer and have an attractive deep red appearance.
A series of talks gave the guests further information on the background, production methods and current market for European Picota cherries. Ana Esther Luengo, sales manager at growers’ association Agrupación de Cooperativas Valle del Jerte, outlined the fruit’s unique selling points, as well as the traditional Jerte Valley production techniques. Emma Gough, senior agriculture consultant at Promar International, provided an overview of the cherry market, while John Valentine, managing director of Red Communications, discussed the promotional campaign in the UK.
The campaign aims to raise consumption by maximising visibility at point of sale, communicating the added value of the fruit and positioning them as the ideal natural summer snack or versatile ingredient. A wide range of in-store and online retailer activity is being backed by UK influencer and consumer magazine content based around recipe development.
Promotional activity comes during a strong production season for Spain, according to Agrupación de Cooperativas Valle Del Jerte. Excellent conditions and high sunshine hours have resulted in a crop that is of the highest quality, beautifully sweet and crunchy in texture, it added.
Some 40 per cent of the 5 million kgs projected to be harvested will be shipped to the UK, which is the major market for Picota cherries. “We are only at the start of the season but feel very optimistic about the quality and volumes meeting expectations this year,” said the group’s export manager Miguel Ángel Durán.