Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline's decision to sell of the Ribena drink brand brings uncertainty for grower suppliers, Herefordshire soft fruit grower and Blackcurrant Foundation board member Anthony Snell has said.
"There are 36 core growers dedicated to producing for GSK, who have invested time and effort into the brand," he said.
"We hope that if it's sold, the buyer will support those loyal British growers. Ribena is selling well, but we need long-term contracts. It's a long-term crop - a ten-year investment - but blackcurrants have huge potential."
Having completed a strategic review of its Ribena and Lucozade brands, GSK announced this week:
"The tremendous growth potential of these iconic brands, particularly outside the ‘core’ Western markets, could be better leveraged by companies with existing category presence and infrastructure in these regions.
"As a result, we have decided to pursue the divestment of these brands, subject to the realisation of appropriate value for GSK shareholders."
Ribena currently accounts for 90 per cent of the UK blackcurrant crop.