South African stone fruit 2020/21 season expects improvements on all fronts
Promotional activity for the South African stone fruit industry in the UK is underway and growers are optimistic about the season ahead.
The 2019/20 season brought many challenges caused by difficult weather conditions and the coronavirus pandemic. This season, however, is set to see an improvement in all aspects: this year’s weather has been advantageous for the fruit crops, and ports have returned to a more normal operational status.
Hortgro, the organisation which represents South Africa’s stone fruit industries, will continue to develop the plum, peach and nectarine categories in the UK through their integrated marketing initiative, which has now been running for 12 years.
Jacques du Preez, General Management of Trade and Markets at Hortgro, said: “The stone fruit forecast and overall estimate volumes are looking much better compared to the same time last year. For plums in particular, the favourable weather conditions have definitely had a positive impact on fruit set for this coming season and we are optimistic about the harvest.”
The initial export crop estimates project an increase in volumes compared to the previous season. Plum growers anticipate a large increase of 22% compared to last season, to 10.8 million cartons. Nectarines are expected to increase from last year’s 5 million cartons to almost 5.6 million cartons (2.5kg). Peaches can expect a 5% increase to 2.1 million cartons. The increased volumes are mainly driven by young orchards coming into production and more favourable weather conditions.
Collaboration with retailers will be one of the main focuses of this year’s campaign, which will see in-store promotions, advertising and editorial both online and in retailer magazines, alongside social media activity.
The stone fruit campaign will be supported by other trade and consumer-focussed activities, including new recipe styling and photography, editorial and advertising, and social media.
Preez added: “The South African stone fruit growers, packers and exporters remain committed to supplying consumers with excellent quality and great tasting products. The industry is confident that the logistical challenges experienced during the past year due to Covid-19 is something of the past and is looking forward to a great season.”