Kent grower set to chair co-operative

A leading strawberry and raspberry grower who recently heaped praise on supermarkets for buoying up the berry market has been made chair of the biggest berry-growing co-operative.

Marion Regan takes over at KG Growers from Angus Davison, who stands down after seven years in the post but remains on the board. Alastair Brooks has been made vice-chairman.

"This is a period that has seen enormous changes in the industry," Regan said. "Many of them were pioneered by those associated with our group in marketing, customer-relationship management, production or politics."

KG Growers has 75 grower members throughout the UK, including 15 in Scotland. The co-operative has a turnover of £116m and is the largest soft-fruit grower group in the UK.

Regan made headlines when she praised supermarkets in a talk at the Oxford Farming Conference this month (Grower, 10 January).

She said supermarkets had kept the domestic berry market competitive with their "exacting standards", which had raised the bar every year for the past 20 years.

Regan owns Hugh Lowe Farms in Kent, which supplies over 2,000 tonnes of fruit to supermarkets and boasts a turnover of £8m.

She has been a director of KG Growers for more than 15 years and is a trustee of the East Malling Trust for Horticultural Research and a director of Berry Gardens.

Brooks owns BR Brooks & Son, which grows strawberries at Faversham, Kent.

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