British Berry Growers (BBG), the industry body representing 95% of berries sold in the UK, has started publishing weekly sales data from its members to reveal which supermarkets are most supportive of British berries. The data is intended to bring greater transparency to the industry at a time when growers face unprecedented cost pressures.
“Britain is self-sufficient in strawberries from May to October. British raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are in plentiful supply throughout the summer months. Fresh berries are the most popular fruit item in the nation’s shopping baskets – enjoying the biggest market share (28 per cent) of all fruit sold in the UK,” the organisation said. “Despite this abundance and demand for soft fruit, not all supermarkets are backing British berries. The British berry industry is under threat with supermarket returns failing to meet growers’ inflationary costs of production.”
BBG points out that its members reported zero increase in what retailers paid for their strawberries in 2022, in spite of rising costs for energy, packaging, haulage, and labour all contributing to grower cost increases. Kantar data shows that in the 2022 British season (from May to September), supermarkets increased the average price of berries by 11%.
The data will be published each Wednesday during the UK summer season and is presented in two ways. First, the total tonnes of British berries sold to UK supermarkets by BBG members, and second the percentage of total British berries sold compared to that supermarket’s grocery market share.
As of 20 July, Lidl was the largest supermarket for total berries sold compared to its market share, followed by Aldi, Waitrose and Co-op. The BBG sales data rankings will culminate in the British Berry Growers’ annual Retailer of The Year Award to be announced at The Farmers Club in November 2023.