Strawberry growers eye record sales

Press Association
Strawberry growers eye record sales
Strawberry growers eye record sales

The British strawberry season begins today with growers predicting record sales as consumer demand soars.

Producers are expecting strawberry sales worth £325 million this year, up from last year's previous record of £275 million.

This year's British strawberry season has started 10 days later than last year because of the colder nights in April.

However, industry body British Summer Fruits has predicted that 76,000 tonnes of strawberries will be produced this year, the equivalent weight of 6,333 double decker buses and a 19% increase on last year's record of 64,000 tonnes.

The soft fruit industry has attributed the expected jump in sales to the extended season resulting from the sunniest winter since records began, new varieties, innovative growing methods and an increase in the number of acres planted.

British strawberry production has increased by 36% in the past five years.

Strawberries grown under glass were available from March due to the sunny winter, while the climate-controlled glasshouses have also allowed growers to extend the season.

This means British strawberries are now available from March to December, a far cry from the six-week season of 25 years ago.

The warm and sunny season so far has also produced exceptionally sweet and juicy berries, growers claim.

British Summer Fruits chairman Laurence Olins said: "Sales of British strawberries reveal a robust and expanding soft fruit category that is meeting growing consumer demand through modern growing innovations and higher yields.

"The berry industry as a whole continues to expand and UK strawberry growers are producing increasing volumes of quality strawberries.

"So consumers can look forward to ample quantities of strawberries on the supermarket shelves this summer."

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