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UK company to expand premium cherry exportsWith all the uncertainty and negativity surrounding the impending Brexit one company is looking to the future and trying to secure a more certain future for itself and its growers.
"With all the doom and gloom about how terrible the UK market is we decided to try to give the growers some options and take advantage of the low pound. That said we are not only looking to export our premium brand cherries but also to show non-retail buyers in the UK that we can produce premium product which can rival US and Canadian product, with presentation as well as the product itself," explained William Hill from WT Hill & Sons (Imports).
The Orchard Hill brand
WT Hill created their own brand Orchard Hill, and also work with GH Dean who have the Blackbird brand. GH Dean have been at the top of the UK non-retail market for a while and WT Hill have worked with them to develop their brand and now fully represent them in the market.
The Bluebird Premium 2kg box
Cherries for the Orchard Hill brand are sourced from the best growers in Worcestershire and Herefordshire. The fruit is grown under cover and produces stunning quality and sizes which are unrivalled. Blackbird cherries are grown exclusively by GH Dean in Kent. 100% of this crop is uncovered and produces the most fantastic flavour and quality around.
"This is the first year we have presented our premium brands to the export market and it has gone very well and we are keen to build on this for next year. In Europe there is a gap before the US cherries hit our shores and we want to fill that gap, this year we have exported mainly to Spain.
Photo: Will and his colleague Damian and the Spanish client
"One of our suppliers in Spain recommended that we show our cherries to a client of his and it all started from there," said William. "Now our cherries are loaded onto empty trucks returning to Spain and distributed throughout the country, they are also being picked up by buyers from Eastern and Northern Europe who source stonefruit from Spain. We also have small program to Dubai."
WT Hill have had relations with their growers for many years to supply the non-retail market and Will, who is 4th generation in the family company and his business partner Damian, can now offer them an outlet outside of the UK for their premium cherries as well.
Punnets for export to Dubai
"We select one customer per wholesale market whom we will sell exclusively to and this is how we have built the brands in the UK, we have done the same in Spain."
Orchard Hill cherries
According to Will there is a resurgence of high end grocers in the UK, "People are looking for a different shopping experience, we also supply retailers which is a different kind market to this, but the wholesale market in the UK has reinvented itself in recent years on two levels: one, with fruit and veg above the supermarket quality, also with sizes and shapes which are not appreciated by most retailers.
Class II cherries from G H Dean, known as Backbird Blue
"Another area which needs as much management if not more is fruit below supermarket specification and the surplus, which all needs to be allocated and managed correctly, this year has been particularly difficult. I am sure there is potential to export this fruit to Europe too. There is a lot more to the UK fruit market than just supermarket spec fruit, concludes Will.
For more information:
Tel: +44 621 3245
Mob: +7545019 561
Mob: +7588 116891
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