Frutas y HortalizasAgo. 11, 2016
Reino Unidos: Cosecha de berries obtendrá buenos volúmenes esta temporada
Fears faced by growers at the start of the soft fruit season of the effects of a warm winter and wet spring have not materialised to any great extent and the UK season seems to be going fairly well to date.
“Strawberries will continue to see good volumes for the next three weeks then we will have declining volumes through September,” explains Chris Rose, Commercial Controller at Asplins Producer Organisation Limited. “Late raspberries are coming on line now and will have good volumes through September and October.”
“Soft fruit demand in the UK market is very good at the moment, often we get to August and with the School holidays sales can struggle, but this year it is staying strong.”
Earlier in the year there were concerns that the increase in raspberries planted would lead to over-supply, but these worries are yet to manifest as demand has been very good and sales have been excellent; however there are a lot of late raspberries to come and September/October volumes will challenge us all.
Demand for soft fruit has always been weather related but according to Chris, these days demand is more health related. Weather still has influence but not as much as before.
Another concern at the start of the season was small sizes due the weather. “There was some smaller fruit but not to the extent that we expected,” said Chris. “What we have seen is a flat season with no big peaks and troughs, which is ideal and has done a lot to help sales.”
Supermarkets have moved away from ‘two for one’ offers on soft fruit, but have started offering different pack sizes so that people can buy smaller packs of different berries. Chris sees a lot of potential in mixed packs but these do present challenges to packers so are not widely available at the moment.
The biggest worry in the soft fruit sector is labour. “A lot of the Brexit campaign was based on immigration and it will be difficult politically for a government to negotiate keeping access to the number of seasonal workers we need. The NFU and British Summer Fruits and British Growers Association, among others, are all working hard to lobby the Government and are gathering statistics to highlight the situation. We have immediate worries about foreign workers feeling unwanted here and thus not coming. We urgently need a SAWS (Seasonal Agriculture Worker Scheme) type system both to allay fears pre-Brexit and to enable workers to come post-Brexit.