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Spanish persimon® growers set sights on further UK growth

The first D.O-certified Spanish persimon® will arrive in UK supermarkets this week, with growers confident they can improve on last year’s record results.

In the 2012/13 season, more than 12 million individual fruits were sold in the UK between mid-October and January, with the help of strong retailer support and an ongoing promotional campaign by Foods from Spain. Approximately 70,000 tonnes of persimon® were produced, with around 25,000t certified with DO status by the regulatory board. Of this, just over 2,000t of the fruit were sold in the UK, equating to growth of around 125 per cent on the previous year.

Rafael Perucho, head of the regulatory council, Kaki de la Ribera del Xúquer, which controls the DO certification for the fruit, said favourable growing conditions and new plantings have produced approximately 10 per cent more fruit than last year’s bumper crop. “We enjoyed a particularly strong season last year in the UK, where we have continued to grow dramatically,” he said. “The response of retailers and consumers has been incredibly positive in this market and persimon® has moved rapidly from being a niche fruit to a mainstream player that regularly outsells mangoes and kiwifruit during the season. This, coupled with a good availability of quality fruit, means we are very optimistic for the potential for growth in both this year and beyond.”

A promotional campaign has supported DO-protected persimon® in retailer stores and in the media by Foods from Spain for several years, and focussed on introducing the fruit to new consumers and encouraging them to eat it. This year’s activity in supermarkets includes educational labels on 3-packs of the fruit, point-of-sale information and consumer sampling along with stickers for kids.

A competition is also being launched to highlight the fruit, inviting schoolchildren to design a costume for campaign mascot Pedro Persimon® and win funds for their school. Meanwhile, sampling will take place in wholesale markets and to the media as part of ongoing public relations activity, accompanied by social media and updates to the website.

This year, the DO has also launched a brand logo, with the aim of highlighting certified fruit and the spelling of the product with a single ‘m’. The image will appear throughout the campaign.

María José Sevilla, Director of Foods from Spain, said: “We have been thrilled with the growth in awareness and sales of Spanish persimon® over the last few years. With the launch of a brand this year, and the sustained promotional effort we are implementing for a further season, we are confident that we can further build on the success of this incredible fruit in the UK market.”

Spanish persimon® will be available in the UK market until late January or early February.

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