South African plum growers have reported excellent crop quality this season as they look to inspire UK consumers to choose their fruit.
With the plum season now in full swing, the governing body of the South African Deciduous Fruit Industry, Hortgro is predicting a 4% rise in exports to 15.8m cartons. Although port and berthing issues have meant volumes shipped to the UK are currently slightly down on 2020/21, plans are in place to clear the backlog and the industry expects to be back on track soon.
Hortgro is looking to highlight the taste and quality of South African plums to British consumers this season, and has planned a range of promotional activity with retailers. That includes promotional plum shrouds in Morrisons stores, booklets in Sainsbury’s plum packs, a recipe banner on Waitrose.com and a promotion on Supersweet plums in Tesco.
And suppliers say consumers can look forward to a top-class eating experience. “The industry was concerned about sun damage to the fruit after experiencing temperatures around 40 degrees, but despite that fruit quality and taste is excellent this season,” explained Jacques du Preez, Hortgro General Manager of Trade and Markets.
Growers in South Africa’s Western and Eastern Cape cultivate a range of delicious red, purple and yellow plums, offering consumers a wide selection of flavours, textures and colours. The fruit, which are high in fibre and a source of vitamins A, C, and E as well as potassium and carotene, are available in British retailers from January to May.
The push on plums comes as Hortgro steps up its activity across the wider stone fruit category. A new campaign website is set to go live at the end of January at www.southafricanfruit.com, together with a video highlighting the benefits and qualities of South African fruit. The campaign will be backed by trade advertising, social media activity and a newsletter circulated to key figures in the UK industry. A brand-new image library will also showcase the beauty of South African fruit and will be updated throughout the season.
Looking across the category, nectarine export volumes are forecast to be 23% higher this season at 8m cartons, with peaches up 2% at 2.4m cartons.