With plum season in full swing, South Africa’s pome fruit industry is predicting a 4% rise in exports to 15.8 million cartons. With local growers reporting excellent crop quality this season, exporters are setting their eyes on UK consumers.
According to Fruitnet.com the South African Deciduous Fruit Industry body, Hortgro, is looking to highlight the taste and quality of South African plums to British consumers this season and has planned a range of promotional activities with retailers, including Morrisons stores, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose.com and Tesco.
This comes on the back of port and berthing issues which have resulted in a slight reduction in volumes shipped to the UK. However, plans are in place to clear the backlog and the industry expects to be back on track soon, Fruitnet.com reports.
“The industry was concerned about sun damage to the fruit after experiencing temperatures around 40 degrees, but despite that fruit quality and taste is excellent this season,” explained Jacques du Preez, Hortgro general manager of trade and markets.
The promotional push on plums comes as Hortgro seeks to increase its focus across the wider stone fruit category. A new campaign website is set to go live at the end of January at www.southafricanfruit.com, together with a video highlighting the benefits and qualities of South African fruit.
The campaign will be backed by trade advertising, social media activity and a newsletter circulated to key figures in the UK industry.
Looking across the category, nectarine export volumes are forecast to be 23% higher this season at 8 million cartons, with peaches up 2% at 2.4 million cartons.
Meanwhile, the apple and pear export volume is expected to reach 67.3 million cartons, 32% higher than the 2019 crop. The apple export crop is expected to rise by 6% to 47.47 million cartons and the pear crop by 8% to 19.83 million cartons.
Apples are expected to represent 70% of the pome fruit export crop.
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