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AG Thames celebrates first delivery of UK grown Sweet Sensation® pears

Fresh fruit supplier, AG Thames, has welcomed the very first delivery of home grown Sweet Sensation® pears into Sainsbury’s this week.
The move provides much needed support for British growers and is set to significantly lower food miles through reducing imports by around £8million.
First planted at a seven hectare orchard at East Malling Research (EMR) in Kent in May 2011 by Newstairs, which is the innovation arm of Dartford based AG Thames, the pears were harvested in September 2012 with an initial yield of around 20 tonnes.

Francis Wheatley, Director of Newstairs, said:
“This is an exciting time for the industry as we welcome the very first harvest of home grown Sweet Sensation® pears to Sainsbury’s.
“Although currently available in Holland, the Sweet Sensation® Pear has not, until now, been grown in the UK.
“The overall pear market here is worth almost £166million, with only 27% of that grown in Britain. Specifically, there is a lack of British grown blush pears in the market – which is the biggest growth area in the sector – with the majority being imported from Italy and the USA.
“Taking this into account, we wanted to grasp this opportunity, in order to boost the UK pear market, support British growers and reduce food miles, with an overall aim of planting 100 hectares of Sweet Sensation® over the coming years, here in the UK.
“Via our collaboration with EMR, we have successfully been able to access cutting edge industry knowledge and research on the sector, to enable us to grow the first of its kind in Britain.
“We believe the future of UK-grown Sweet Sensation® pears is very promising and we’re looking forward to hearing the feedback from this exciting first harvest. All going well, further orchards are planned for planting in the winter / spring of 2012 / 13.”
Sweet Sensation® was first discovered as a natural mutation on a farm in the north of Holland in 1992. AG Thames gained exclusive planning rights for the UK in 2010.
From taste tests carried out by AG Thames at the BBC Good Food Show, 84% of tasters said they would consider buying Sweet Sensation®.

Amy King from Sainsbury’s, said:
“Supporting British growers is a key focus for us here at Sainsbury’s so we are delighted to be the primary UK retailer to stock the first home grown Sweet Sensation® Pears.
“Reducing food miles where possible is another important aspect to us when dealing with suppliers so we’re pleased that AG Thames is able to provide us with a tasty product that isn’t going to have a major impact on the environment.
“We’re looking forward to hearing what our customers think of the new home grown fruit and are excited to see what the future brings for UK Sweet Sensation®.”


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