U.K.: Local cherry sales rise 80% at Tesco
According to British Summer Fruit data published on August 24, British growers had produced 2,682 metric tons (MT) of cherries in the season since May.
In terms of volume, Tesco increased its sourcing of British cherries by 125% to 750MT.
"Shoppers prefer British cherries as they’re considered to be amongst the best in the world – not only the richness of their taste but also the juiciness of their flesh and overall texture. Nothing beats a British cherry," Tesco cherry buyer Tom Emmett said in a release.
"It's all about availability - if we can get British grown cherries then we know our shoppers will buy them. They are extremely popular and one of the absolute joys of summer."
Tesco highlighted that poor weather, high labor costs and increased competition from countries like Turkey, Spain and U.S. had negatively affected the sector over the past few decades, but more British growers are now seeing higher yields thanks to the use of dwarf rootstocks.
These produce much smaller trees which can be grown in plastic tunnels, creating a microclimate with temperatures similar to the Mediterranean. Additionally, the fruit can be picked by workers on foot who no longer need to use ladders.
"At the moment demand for British cherries exceeds supply. The good news is that by the end of the decade we should be able to completely meet that demand for the whole for the whole British season," Emmett said.
"That's an amazing turnaround from just ten years ago."