“Excellent” harvest of South African plums
SPlum growers in South Africa have reported excellent harvest quality this season as the UK marketing campaign seeks to inspire consumers to choose their fruit.
With the plum season in full swing, Hortgro forecasts a 4% increase in exports to 15.8 million boxes.
Although port and berthing issues have resulted in a slight drop in volumes shipped to the UK compared to 2020/21, plans are in place to clear the backlog and the industry expects to be soon back on track.
Hortgro is looking to highlight the taste and quality of South African plums to UK consumers this season and has planned a series of promotional activities with retailers.
This includes promotional plum shrouds in Morrisons stores, booklets in Sainsbury’s plum packs, a recipe banner on Waitrose.com and a Supersweet plum promotion at Tesco.
And suppliers said consumers can expect a “first-class dining experience”.
“The industry was concerned about sun damage to the fruit after experiencing temperatures of around 40 degrees, but despite this, the quality and taste of the fruit is excellent this season,” explained Jacques du Preez, director General of Hortgro Trade and Markets.
Growers in the Western and Eastern Cape in South Africa grow a range of red, purple and yellow plums, giving consumers a wide choice of flavors, textures and colors.
The fruit, which is high in fiber and a source of vitamins A, C and E as well as potassium and carotene, is available in UK retailers from January to May.
The plum push comes as Hortgro steps up its business in the broader stone fruit category.
A new campaign website is due to go live in late January, along with a video highlighting the benefits and qualities of South African fruit.
The campaign will be supported by commercial advertisements, social media activity and a newsletter distributed to key figures in UK industry.
A brand new image library will also showcase the beauty of South African fruit and will be updated throughout the season.
Across the category, nectarine export volumes are expected to increase by 23% this season to 8 million boxes, with peaches up 2% to 2.4 million boxes.