This year's British strawberry season will see soft fruit supplier BerryWorld focus its marketing support around one of its newer varieties, Sweet Eve.
Growers will produce it in larger quantities than ever before to meet retailers' demand for the variety. Its berries have a naturally sweet flavour and aroma meaning they do not need extra sugar.
BerryWorld's growers will produce more than 6,000 tonnes of Sweet Eve in 2011 for the Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Waitrose - a year-on-year increase of more 300 per cent.
BerryWorld managing director Adam Olins said: "Our decision to focus on Sweet Eve has been prompted by the superior quality of the fruit and its performance in assessments. It was developed specifically for our climate and our wholesale move to the variety is backed by confidence from retailers. In 2010 trials, Sweet Eve consistently outperformed competitors and even some premium varieties."
BerryWorld has 12 large growers across the UK who will be producing Sweet Eve throughout the season. The everbearer variety will be available from early July to the end of September. The first Sweet Eve berries will hit supermarket shelves in June.
SWEET EVE DEVELOPMENT HISTORY
Sweet Eve was first available in the UK in 2009 in small quantities. A BerryWorld representative said: "The speed in which this variety has come to the market from a single plant selection in 2004 to being our main variety in 2011 is unprecedented."
This year is the first in which Sweet Eve has been readily available in supermarkets, with more than double the availability compared to 2010.
The variety was bred in Kent by Peter Vinson. He selected it after assessing more than 50,000 individual seedlings.
BerryWorld growers will produce 6,000 tonnes of Sweet Eve strawberries in 2011 on farms from Retford in the north to Camelford in the South West.