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Hemköp on why berries matter so much to Scandinavia’s supermarkets

Scandinavian retailers are the frontrunners of the European berry market, as their fresh produce departments are responsible for no less than 13% of the total supermarket sales.

Scandinavian retailers are the frontrunners of the European berry market, as their fresh produce departments are responsible for no less than 13% of the total supermarket sales. So says a press release from berry giant Driscoll’s in which Hemköp sales manager Joakim Bäckstäde and Driscoll’s commercial director Wyard Stomp talk about why the high value berry shopper is here to stay and the potential of this promising market. Their interview is reproduced below.

What makes the berry category interesting?

Bäckstäde: “Berries are fresh, delicious and healthy. It’s fun to eat and share them with your family and friends. Furthermore they are impulse driven products. Buying berries can trigger other purchases, or as we like to say; berries have a lot of in-store ‘friends’, such as ice-cream, yoghurt and cake. By combining these products in the shelf, we stimulate cross-selling.”

Stomp: “Berries are a perfect match with recent consumer trends and can make any ordinary moment more special.”

Why is the berry shopper valuable?

Bäckstäde: “Next to berries they also love other premium products such as dairy and pastry, which makes them extra appealing for our supermarkets. I am positive that the berry shopper is the shopper of the future and will influence many other categories in a positive way.”

Stomp: “It’s our mission to gain the shopper’s trust by offering them delicious, fresh and beautiful berries all year round. This is something we can only do by working closely together with our retail partners.”

Hemkop Driscoll's.png

Why are berries Sweden’s favourites?

Bäckstäde: “That’s simple, because they are healthy and tasteful! Scandinavian people really care about health and the environment. Berries remind them of the warm summer months and they fit very well with other popular Swedish products such as soured milk, yoghurt, quark and cottage cheese.”

How do you tempt shoppers to buy more berries?

Bäckstäde: “Recently we have installed special coolers in almost all new and renewed stores. This way our berries stay fresh for a longer period of time. By placing the coolers in premium spots in our supermarkets, shoppers cannot miss out on these fruits while visiting the store.”

Stomp: “We want to do more for our customers than just offering berries. That is why we support our partners with shopper insights and advise them on how to create a successful in-store berry presentation.”

How do you promote berries outside the local season?

Bäckstäde: “We promote berries at least once a month. This is something we do through our flyers, in-store promotions and our own social media accounts. By offering tasty recipes to our shoppers and making them aware of the joy that berries can bring to the table, we have already seen an impressive sales growth outside the regular season.”

What are you expectations of this promising category?

Bäckstäde: “I expect a lot of the berry category; a growth in demand and more packaging diversity, that will seduce shoppers to buy more berries. My personal goal is to have berries on full focus in all our stores every single day, not only during promotion periods.”

Stomp: “I will be proud as people at every office location and at every school around the world will enjoy berries during their lunch break.”

Read an interview with Daniel Månsson, Axfood’s general manager of fruit and vegetables, which also covers berries: Inside Swedish retail giant Axfood

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Driscoll’s seeks patent protection for raspberry clamshell

Driscoll's says its clamshell pack is great for transporting raspberries – or other soft, fragile produce items – and its air-flow keeps them cool and fresh until reaching supermarkets and consumers.

California-based Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc. is seeking patent protection for a clamshell raspberry container.

The world’s biggest fresh berry company and a holder of patents in many countries for its berry plant varieties, Driscoll’s says the clamshell is designed to transport raspberries – or other soft, fragile produce items – while the air-flow in the container keeps them cool and fresh until reaching supermarkets and consumers.

In its international patent application, published by the World Intellectual Property Organization on October 29, it says while there are various patents for containers for the shipping of berries or other produce, “there is a need in the art for a new and improved container that can be used in containing, shipping, transporting and storing in a cooled environment produce items that display a notable vulnerability and fragility and a great potential of easily undergoing damage.”

“This is particularly sought by produce exporting facilities, that suffer tremendous financial loss due to poorly designed containers, consequently resulting in a damage to the produce items during transportation and storage. The present invention now satisfies this need by providing such improved containers,” Driscoll’s says.

Among the features of its container is a central divider, which besides providing extensive strength and rigidity to the container, keeps the produce items separated so they don’t “bounce” on each other during transport.

Other aspects of the design include:

  • it is suited to a range of produce items, such as berries, grapes and other fruits,
  • it is typically made of molded plastic, with the preferred plastic being polyethylene terephthalate (PET), either virgin or recycled from bottles or combinations thereof,
  • various configurations are possible but a preferred, rectangular design could contain a total net weight of raspberries of 18 oz,
  • the lid is preferably recessed to allow stacking of one closed container upon another,
  • a soaking pad may be provided in each compartment to absorb moisture from container contents,
  • various snap locks can be used to attach the lid to the tray,
  • the sidewalls of the container are curved to prevent bruising of the contents, and
  • the container generally has various air vents.

On its website, Driscoll’s says that its clamshell packages are stamped with the international recycling code, which is three chasing arrows within a triangle with a number inside to designate the level of recyclability of the package.” Currently our packaging is marked with the recycling code #1 which is the most acceptable recyclable packaging. Containers are PET, Polyethylene Terephthalate.”

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Glasshouse blackberries deliver pleasing results for Driscoll’s

Berry company Driscoll’s says taking its successful variety Driscoll’s® Victoria™ to the glasshouse has produced blackberries with exceptional taste and outstanding fruit size.

Berry company Driscoll’s says taking its successful variety Driscoll’s® Victoria™ to the glasshouse has produced blackberries that have kicked off the Dutch season with exceptional taste and outstanding fruit size.

Driscoll’s agronomy consultant Fanny Pitsioudis said the variety is the result of a unique breeding programme focused on taste, look and shelf life.

“What we discovered is that this blackberry variety performs even better in the protected environment of a glasshouse, as the berries are bigger, sweeter and juicier than before,” she said.

Driscoll’s growers Jan and Alfons Diepstraten, of the growers association Best of Four, are reaping the benefits of the glass house success and gave a hat tip to Driscoll’s for its “high quality varieties and advanced production methods.”

“Last year we already experienced how huge and sweet these blackberries are, that is why we decided to expand our production from 2 hectare to 5 hectare,” they said, adding they will be picking blackberries until December

Driscoll's growers Jan & Alfons Diepstraten.JPGDriscoll’s growers Jan and Alfons Diepstraten of growers association Best of Four

source: Driscoll’s press release