Retailers must follow Aldi's lead to help promote UK Horticulture

by Jack Ward

British Growers Association has praised Aldi following new research commissioned by the trade body, revealed that 33% of fruit and vegetable suppliers believe marketing is the main opportunity for UK horticulture.

The praise comes as the leading discount supermarket signed up to the National Farmers’ Union’s (NFU) fruit and veg pledge, promising to fund all produce promotions itself to help further support British growers and suppliers.

New research compiled by British Growers, the UK’s leading horticultural trade body, has revealed marketing is seen as the biggest issue facing UK fruit and vegetable suppliers.

British Growers surveyed 139 suppliers to establish the current issues facing the sector. It revealed marketing (33%), followed by new technology (10%) and diversification (9%) as UK growers’ main opportunities for growth.

Jack Ward, chief executive of British Growers, said: “It is great news for UK horticulture that leading discount supermarket, Aldi, has signed up to the NFU’s fruit and veg pledge to help market and promote UK producers.

“Our research shows how important marketing is to UK fruit and vegetable suppliers and Aldi will now lead the way by funding all produce promotions itself instead of running deals funded by growers.”

The National Farmers’ Union’s (NFU) fruit and veg pledge aims to create a more transparent and profitable fresh produce supply chain and according to the NFU, Aldi has adopted all 11 commitments on supply chain best practice in the pledge.

“It is now imperative that other retailers follow Aldi’s lead,” Mr Ward added. “If horticulture in this country is to compete in a growing global market, growers must have the support of retailers.”

The NFU launched the fruit and veg pledge, which aims to improve long-term relationships with British growers and suppliers, boosting their profitability, in 2012 after its Catalyst for Change report revealed the UK was at risk of losing “swathes of British horticulture production” if profitability was not improved in the fresh produce supply chain.

The NFU is now calling on other retailers to follow Aldi and sign up to the NFU’s fruit and veg pledge.