Growers target Armagh Bramleys boost

UK Protected Food Names Association chairman tells Armagh growers to use PGI status or lose it.

Launch: Armagh Bramley logo and marketing campaign gets started - image: © Liam McArdle
Launch: Armagh Bramley logo and marketing campaign gets started - image: © Liam McArdle

Apples

Armagh's Bramley apple growers have set out to boost consumer awareness of their product by launching a logo and marketing campaign.

Addressing a Northern Ireland Fruit Growers Association meeting last month, chairman Hamilton Loney said: "Gaining EU Protected Food Name Status gave Armagh Bramley apple growers a unique opportunity to increase income and grow market share."

The new logo will "help add value to their product and increase demand for an apple with many uses and a healthy reputation", he said.

The Armagh Bramley Apple Development Programme will run promotional activities including initiatives with retailers, business groups, local government and tourism bodies to develop the growing region as a mini-break destination offering "an apple experience for all the family".

Loney added: "Building on existing events linked to apple blossom and harvest times as well as competitions for growers and consumers will help tell our story."

The move follows criticism that the county's growers had been slow to capitalise on the status, gained in 2012.

Business consultant and chairman of the UK Protected Food Names Association Dr Matthew O'Callaghan told growers: "Having gained PGI (protected geographical indication) status it is very much a case of use it to boost income or lose it."

Indeed, other producers who failed to make use of such status have since lost it. O'Callaghan cited West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and Grimsby Traditional Smoked Fish as examples.

But a wider programme of supply chain development funded by the EU and Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (DARD) could help the county's growers avoid the same fate, he said.

"Make the effort with EU and DARD backing and Armagh Bramleys will sell for more, gain market share and grow you county's economy."

Distinctive apples of Armagh

Bramleys tend to be less uniformly shaped than other Bramley apples. They are relatively low in sugar and are slow-growing, which is said to make for a more intense flavour.

The growing conditions in Armagh also give the apples a firmer, denser flesh, giving them longer shelf life for year-round availability. They are hand-picked and graded.


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