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Waitrose shares key elements for boosting the British tomato industry

Quality, availability, uniqueness and visibility for success:
Waitrose shares key elements for boosting the British tomato industry

“The British tomato industry has an amazing potential. However there are some points we could work on to make the industry even more successful.” said Waitrose’s Technical Manager Agronomy Alan Wilson at this year’s British Tomato Conference. Wilson listed some key elements that are of crucial importance for the development of the domestic market share for British tomatoes.

According to Wilson, the British tomatoes have a huge advantage in the competition, and that is their taste. “Quality is always the first for Waitrose, because that attracts customers. That’s one of the reasons why we are committed to British tomatoes long-term.” However, he also mentioned that the market share of British tomatoes in the whole United Kingdom is only around 20%. “Some work needs to be done!”


Alan Wilson of Waitrose at the British Tomato Conference last month.

“It is possible to change this number with some effort. Let’s take a look at the example of the strawberry market. Twenty-five years ago our strawberry production was deep down, the share of the British produce was 10%. Today in season it’s 98%!”

Wilson explained, that similarly to strawberries, also tomatoes should be more appreciated on the market. According to him, growers should engage customers and promote the fame of British tomatoes. They should speak up louder than ever before to be more visible. “This is crucial if we want a viable industry in ten years’ time”. During his presentation, Wilson praised the work of the Tomato Grower’s Association, which already has achieved a lot in the promotion of the British tomato.

Freshness can also play a key role for success. Growers should transport them as fast as possible. The best situation would be that we get the tomatoes in a Waitrose store just a few hours after harvest”, Wilson said to highlight the desire for a short chain.

“Another important issue is the variety-question”- according to Wilson, customers can get confused by the myriad of new types. “There is still room for a killer variety, which is absolutely unique. A variety, which is produced only in Britain. And we need it not for small niches but for mass production.”

Waitrose’ technical manager agronomy furthermore mentioned a year round production. ”A real break-through can be achieved by year-round production. I’m very grateful for the presentation of Philips at this year’s TGA Conference, because I truly think that lighting is the way forward for British tomatoes.”

Publication date: 10/21/2014
Author: Boy de Nijs
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

British industry pitches for resumption of India-EU trade talks

British industry pitches for resumption of India-EU trade talks

India and the European Union (EU) should restart their bilateral trade talks and take steps to conclude the much-awaited free trade agreement, Sir Michael Rake, President of the Confederation of British Industry, has said.

“This will be a symbol of openness and a big signal that India really wants to operate at the global level. We need to build on the work already done,” Rake told BusinessLine in an interview here.

Confederation of British Industry is UK’s premier business lobbying organisation, providing voice for employers at national and international level.

Rake said this could be a “good moment” to re-energise the trade talks with a new Indian Government already in office and a new Commission (European) expected at Brussels from November 1.

India-EU pact
The proposed India-EU bilateral trade and investment agreement (BTIA) is far from concluded, despite several rounds of negotiations that began in the year 2007.

Rake, who is Chairman of BT Group Plc, was visiting New Delhi for a India-UK business gathering, besides opening of a new BT building at commercial business hub at Gurgaon in Haryana.

He said that the global trade was expected to slow down and that made it even more important to re-energise the India-EU trade talks and conclude it at the earliest.

“Whatever be the problems, India needs to recognise that EU has nearly half-a-billion wealthy consumers. There is a large middle class out there (EU)”, he said.

Largest trading partner
The EU-28 is currently India’s largest trading partner, accounting for about 15 per cent of total trade in goods and services.

“British industry is very keen on the India-EU FTA. Bilateral treaties are important especially after the WTO Doha round collapse.

We should get to the level best of treaty we can. It is better to have some treaty than having none.”

India-EU ties
Rake’s remarks are significant as it came at a time when the India-EU bilateral commercial relationship are somewhat strained, due to series of tax disputes involving EU companies and also the recent EU ban on import of mangoes from India.

During his current visit, Rake met India’s law and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The British business community is confident that the new Modi-led Government would deliver on its promise of being a business-friendly dispensation, Rake said, adding that already there is some speeding of decision making.

Clarity of taxation policy is important and that is already beginning to emerge, Rake added.

UK’s visa restrictions
British business is also very keen that visa restrictions (at UK’s end) be eased so that more skilled Indians can move to the UK.

“We need more high-level engineers and other skilled people that India produces to move to the UK.

We (in UK) still have the problem of net migration policy, which means shortage of visas for skilled people. Tackling this issue will be healthy for the UK-India relations”

This is nothing to do with EU’s free movement of labour, but only to do with the UK, he clarified.

Source: thehindubusinessline.com

Publication date: 10/15/2014


FreshPlaza.com

British industry pitches for resumption of India-EU trade talks

British industry pitches for resumption of India-EU trade talks

India and the European Union (EU) should restart their bilateral trade talks and take steps to conclude the much-awaited free trade agreement, Sir Michael Rake, President of the Confederation of British Industry, has said.

“This will be a symbol of openness and a big signal that India really wants to operate at the global level. We need to build on the work already done,” Rake told BusinessLine in an interview here.

Confederation of British Industry is UK’s premier business lobbying organisation, providing voice for employers at national and international level.

Rake said this could be a “good moment” to re-energise the trade talks with a new Indian Government already in office and a new Commission (European) expected at Brussels from November 1.

India-EU pact
The proposed India-EU bilateral trade and investment agreement (BTIA) is far from concluded, despite several rounds of negotiations that began in the year 2007.

Rake, who is Chairman of BT Group Plc, was visiting New Delhi for a India-UK business gathering, besides opening of a new BT building at commercial business hub at Gurgaon in Haryana.

He said that the global trade was expected to slow down and that made it even more important to re-energise the India-EU trade talks and conclude it at the earliest.

“Whatever be the problems, India needs to recognise that EU has nearly half-a-billion wealthy consumers. There is a large middle class out there (EU)”, he said.

Largest trading partner
The EU-28 is currently India’s largest trading partner, accounting for about 15 per cent of total trade in goods and services.

“British industry is very keen on the India-EU FTA. Bilateral treaties are important especially after the WTO Doha round collapse.

We should get to the level best of treaty we can. It is better to have some treaty than having none.”

India-EU ties
Rake’s remarks are significant as it came at a time when the India-EU bilateral commercial relationship are somewhat strained, due to series of tax disputes involving EU companies and also the recent EU ban on import of mangoes from India.

During his current visit, Rake met India’s law and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The British business community is confident that the new Modi-led Government would deliver on its promise of being a business-friendly dispensation, Rake said, adding that already there is some speeding of decision making.

Clarity of taxation policy is important and that is already beginning to emerge, Rake added.

UK’s visa restrictions
British business is also very keen that visa restrictions (at UK’s end) be eased so that more skilled Indians can move to the UK.

“We need more high-level engineers and other skilled people that India produces to move to the UK.

We (in UK) still have the problem of net migration policy, which means shortage of visas for skilled people. Tackling this issue will be healthy for the UK-India relations”

This is nothing to do with EU’s free movement of labour, but only to do with the UK, he clarified.

Source: thehindubusinessline.com

Publication date: 10/15/2014


FreshPlaza.com

CA (BC): Larger apple sizes, increased competition in British Columbia

A good bloom set and favourable weather conditions have made for good volumes and larger-sized fruit in British Columbia. But a large crop in Washington State has offered increased competition and made for lower prices.

“Apart from some localized hail, the apple crop seems to be good in quality, colour, condition and size,” said Glen Lucas, general manager for the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. “I’ve heard different things, but it seems like it’s also going to be an above-average crop.” It’s not clear how much above average this year’s crop will be. What is clear is that quality will be good, meaning that this year’s pack-outs will provide plenty of fruit for the fresh market.

Because acreage has remained steady over the last few years, this year’s larger crop is attributed to better yields brought on by favourable weather. That weather has also made for larger fruit, which growers hope will offset some of the lower prices spurred on by increased competition from Washington State apples.

“The apple market seems to be picking up with steady movement, but we’re competing against lower prices from Washington,” said Don Wescott of BC Tree Fruits Limited. “We’re facing a lot more market pressure from Washington, because they have a record crop, so they’re scrambling to move as much product as they can. So prices are down from last year, I’d say about a couple of dollars per box.” Larger fruit sizing is helping growers in this situation, as is the current exchange rate, which is helping Canadian exporters.

For more information:

Glen Lucas

BC Fruit Growers’ Association

+1 250 762 5226

FreshPlaza.com

UK: Photo report British Tomato Conference 2014

UK: Photo report British Tomato Conference 2014

Under the motto “An invitation to innovation”,  the British Tomato Grower’s Association Conference took place last week at the Chesford Grange Conference Centre in Warwick. The event, which took of on Wednesday with the annual TGA Dinner, attracted a wide audience from the industry ; from a large sum of tomato growers and horticulturists to industry body representatives, researchers, consultants and suppliers. This year the event attracted a record number of exhibitors and together with the varied and broad conference program, the TGA Conference again has proved to be the number one networking and educating event for greenhouse tomato industry in the United Kingdom. 

It is not a secret that the British greenhouse tomato growers form a very close greenhouse industry that is extremely supportive to each other. The growers are not afraid to share their knowledge and combine their forces to tackle problems, embrace new innovations. This in underlined by the TGA and their Annual conference; an event that further contributes to the efficiency of the British tomato industry and the position of the British tomato.

The conference speakers covered several technical, commercial and legislative issues as well as topics from the retail side of the industry. Together with an extended selection of exhibition booths, the conference was an excellent educational networking occasion.

In the coming weeks we will publish several articles on the topics that were discussed during the conference program. For now, please enjoy our photo report!

If you would like to obtain more information about the Tomato Growers Association or the TGA Conference, please contact:

For more information:
Tomato Growers Association
Julie Woolley 
[email protected]
www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

Publication date: 9/26/2014
Author: Boy de Nijs
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

CA (BC): Apple harvest gets underway in British Columbia

Warm weather and a favorable growing season have made for an early start to the apple harvest in British Columbia. Availability of fruit is expected to last from now until May of next year.

“We’re a little early this year by about a week,” said Glen Lucas, general manager for BC Fruit Growers’ Association. “That’s because we had kind of a good spring, with warm weather throughout spring and summer, but it’s still within the bounds of normalcy. It’s just a little early.” Localized hail storms damaged about five percent of the crop earlier this month, but because the hail wasn’t widespread, the damage was limited. The rest of the crop has been looking good.

“Sunrise apples just got started, that’s one of our early varieties, and we’re pretty excited about it,” said Lucas. He explained that the variety, which was developed at the Summerland research station, is unusual because it has a longer shelf life if left unrefrigerated. In terms of volume, he noted that this year’s production will be on par with that from the last several years, which is a good sign considering the trend over the last few decades has been for the region’s growers to continually produce less fruit.

“We’ve had decreasing volumes over the last 30 years in the Okanagan Valley,” said Lucas. “But production has stabilized over the last three years, and now we’re really trying to grow the industry.” Decreasing volumes have come as a result of fewer acres dedicated to apples, as cherry varieties that could go deeper into the season were planted in favor of apples. Similarly, many growers opted to dedicate their land to growing grapes for the burgeoning wine industry or simply sell it to developers building houses.

Though growers have begun harvesting, the main part of the season is still several weeks away. Sunrise apples are currently being picked, but it won’t be until mid-September when the bulk of production will take place.

“Prices typically flow from the end of one year to the beginning of the next, but it’s too early to tell what the market will be like right now,” said Lucas. “There have been two good years where growers in British Columbia have been happier than in previous years, so the market has been improving. But growers never count their eggs before they hatch, though everyone’s excited and looking forward to the season.”

For more information:

Glen Lucas

BC Fruit Growers’ Association

+1 250 762 5226+1 250 762 5226

FreshPlaza.com

CA (BC): Apple harvest gets underway in British Columbia

Warm weather and a favorable growing season have made for an early start to the apple harvest in British Columbia. Availability of fruit is expected to last from now until May of next year.

“We’re a little early this year by about a week,” said Glen Lucas, general manager for BC Fruit Growers’ Association. “That’s because we had kind of a good spring, with warm weather throughout spring and summer, but it’s still within the bounds of normalcy. It’s just a little early.” Localized hail storms damaged about five percent of the crop earlier this month, but because the hail wasn’t widespread, the damage was limited. The rest of the crop has been looking good.

“Sunrise apples just got started, that’s one of our early varieties, and we’re pretty excited about it,” said Lucas. He explained that the variety, which was developed at the Summerland research station, is unusual because it has a longer shelf life if left unrefrigerated. In terms of volume, he noted that this year’s production will be on par with that from the last several years, which is a good sign considering the trend over the last few decades has been for the region’s growers to continually produce less fruit.

“We’ve had decreasing volumes over the last 30 years in the Okanagan Valley,” said Lucas. “But production has stabilized over the last three years, and now we’re really trying to grow the industry.” Decreasing volumes have come as a result of fewer acres dedicated to apples, as cherry varieties that could go deeper into the season were planted in favor of apples. Similarly, many growers opted to dedicate their land to growing grapes for the burgeoning wine industry or simply sell it to developers building houses.

Though growers have begun harvesting, the main part of the season is still several weeks away. Sunrise apples are currently being picked, but it won’t be until mid-September when the bulk of production will take place.

“Prices typically flow from the end of one year to the beginning of the next, but it’s too early to tell what the market will be like right now,” said Lucas. “There have been two good years where growers in British Columbia have been happier than in previous years, so the market has been improving. But growers never count their eggs before they hatch, though everyone’s excited and looking forward to the season.”

For more information:

Glen Lucas

BC Fruit Growers’ Association

+1 250 762 5226+1 250 762 5226

FreshPlaza.com

British Columbia’s blueberry season off to strong start

Blue Crush!
British Columbia’s blueberry season off to strong start

At over 800 British Columbian blueberry farms, teams are now out in the fields hand-picking the first berries of what promises to be an excellent season for industry and blueberry-lovers alike.

Harvest started about a week earlier than the past two years, and the first of the B.C. blueberry crop is already available in supermarkets, farmers’ markets and produce stores across the province. Referred to as “nature’s candy,” B.C. blueberries will be harvested until at least late September.

“This year’s crop is exceptional in both the quality of the fruit we’re seeing, and the size of the harvest,” said Debbie Etsell, executive director of the BC Blueberry Council. “Growing conditions were close to perfect this year, with such a sunny spring, and no extreme weather. That meant that a lot of fruit was pollinated.” So much fruit, in fact, that the Council is expecting that this year’s harvest of 68 million kilograms will be even larger than last year’s crop. The 2013 BC blueberry crop came in at over 55 million kilograms making British Columbia the largest highbush blueberry growing region in the world, with Canada ranking third as a country.

The most popular way to enjoy B.C. blueberries is to simply grab a handful! But for those handy in the kitchen, the BCblueberry.com website has more than 100 recipes with creative and healthy ideas on how to use the berries – from nutritious breakfasts and traditional baking, through to salads, cocktails and ideas for the grill. For a delicious al fresco dinner, try Quick Blueberry Lamb Kebabs served alongside a Blueberry Margarita with Cucumber and Basil. Get the kids involved in making the dessert with a cool and creamy No Bake Frozen Blueberry Pie.

For more information:
Wendy Underwood
Fever Pitch Marketing Communications Inc.
Tel: +1 604.418.5253
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 7/4/2014


FreshPlaza.com

British Columbia’s blueberry season off to strong start

Blue Crush!
British Columbia’s blueberry season off to strong start

At over 800 British Columbian blueberry farms, teams are now out in the fields hand-picking the first berries of what promises to be an excellent season for industry and blueberry-lovers alike.

Harvest started about a week earlier than the past two years, and the first of the B.C. blueberry crop is already available in supermarkets, farmers’ markets and produce stores across the province. Referred to as “nature’s candy,” B.C. blueberries will be harvested until at least late September.

“This year’s crop is exceptional in both the quality of the fruit we’re seeing, and the size of the harvest,” said Debbie Etsell, executive director of the BC Blueberry Council. “Growing conditions were close to perfect this year, with such a sunny spring, and no extreme weather. That meant that a lot of fruit was pollinated.” So much fruit, in fact, that the Council is expecting that this year’s harvest of 68 million kilograms will be even larger than last year’s crop. The 2013 BC blueberry crop came in at over 55 million kilograms making British Columbia the largest highbush blueberry growing region in the world, with Canada ranking third as a country.

The most popular way to enjoy B.C. blueberries is to simply grab a handful! But for those handy in the kitchen, the BCblueberry.com website has more than 100 recipes with creative and healthy ideas on how to use the berries – from nutritious breakfasts and traditional baking, through to salads, cocktails and ideas for the grill. For a delicious al fresco dinner, try Quick Blueberry Lamb Kebabs served alongside a Blueberry Margarita with Cucumber and Basil. Get the kids involved in making the dessert with a cool and creamy No Bake Frozen Blueberry Pie.

For more information:
Wendy Underwood
Fever Pitch Marketing Communications Inc.
Tel: +1 604.418.5253
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 7/4/2014


FreshPlaza.com

British Airways Meals Recalled

Flying Food Group airline catering announced Friday a recall of its Char Grilled Asparagus and Grapefruit Appetizer meals because they may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly and others with weakened immune systems.

The recall comprises 41 appetizer meals prepared for three British Airways flights that flew out of Miami on March 19, 2014.  The meals were prepared at the company’s Miami facility and served on British Airways flights 0204, 0206 and 208.

The company asserts the recall is a result of Flying Food Group’s internal microbiological testing program.

Although no illnesses have been reported, the company says consumers with questions should contact Flying Food Group.

Food Safety News