Growth in demand for berry fruits

One of Norfolk's leading blackcurrant growers, Chris Allhusen, is keen to develop the potential market for fresh berry fruit.There is also growing demand for home-grown blackcurrants as retailers, food companies and consumers look to reduce food miles.

One of Norfolk's leading blackcurrant growers, Chris Allhusen, is keen to develop the potential market for fresh berry fruit.

There is also growing demand for home-grown blackcurrants as retailers, food companies and consumers look to reduce food miles.

"We are beginning to see more and more UK fruit sold fresh and also we're are trying to persuade all the manufacturers who use about 4,000 tonnes of important blackcurrants, they should use British," he said.

Mr Allhusen, who is chairman of GSK's blackcurrant growers' group, said that promotional initiatives are proving a quiet success. "Our blackcurrant Foundation campaign is having some impact. We're trying to make everybody aware of the daily vitamin C if they eat blackcurrants. If you look on the shelves of Waitrose and M & S, they are stocking more and more of them," he said.


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A generation ago, Norfolk Fruit Growers, handled about 4,000 tonnes of hand-picked blackcurrants in a year, said Mr Allhusen, who farms at Bradenham Hall, near Dereham.

The Blackcurrant Foundation campaign, which is totally funded by about 40 growers including a handful in Norfolk, is keen to re-develop some of these old markets and regain ground.

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Mr Allhusen said that the tendency in recent years had been to encourage varieties with a shorter and more condensed harvesting season producing for GSK's Ribena.

"It will take four or five years to start planting new varieties but we don't anticipate the market growing so fast that we couldn't cope with it.

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