KG Growers rebrands as British Summer Fruits predicts a bumper summer season

Soft fruit growers' co-operative KG Growers has changed its name to Berry Gardens Growers to better reflect the fact that it owns its marketing company, Berry Gardens.

Berry Garden Growers and Berry Gardens have also revealed a new corporate style including a shared logo and website - The organisations hope the makeover will emphasise the fact that they are one unit and that it is a grower-led operation, as March 2009 saw the re-acquisition of a 100 per cent shareholding in Berry Gardens by KG Growers.

Berry Gardens managing director Nick Marston explained: "We conducted an in-depth survey on our growers, retailers, staff and stakeholders to find out how we are perceived in the marketplace. It showed that one of our key attributes is that, as a grower-owned organisation, people like the fact that they are dealing directly with growers.

"One of the current trends in the marketplace is to take out the middleman - a big plus for our structure. So, having the same name underlines (the fact that) we are one business."

He added: "Crops are looking really good this year. We had a hard winter but a spell of dry, clear, settled weather has lead to good flowering and fruit set, so production is looking good."

British Summer Fruits (BSF), which represents 90 per cent of home-grown fruits supplied to the UK, also told Grower that this year's combination of warm days and cool nights had resulted in good yields and "excellent-tasting" berries.

Its general predictions for the 2010 British season are for more volume, more growth and more availability this summer, thanks to advances in varieties and an extended season.

Berries have become the leading fruit category over the past 12 months, according to industry analysts Kantor World Panel. While the volume of fruit is growing at 3.1 per cent, berries are at 11.3 per cent, with strawberries at 11.8 per cent.

BSF chairman Laurence Olins commented: "The sales increase is an encouraging sign of what we predict will be another strong season, boosted by the recent warm weather.

"We hope customers will continue to enjoy British berries from now until early October, with another high-quality crop on the way following last year's success across British strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries."

More than half of the strawberries sold in supermarkets this week will be British and by late May they will all be British. Berry Gardens expects a rise on last May's record strawberry sales, which doubled in comparison with the previous year.

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