Day of debate at Fruit Focus 201626-Jul-2016
Fruit Focus 2016 brought sharp attention onto Brexit and how the industry is formulating its position; ensuring those charged with creating the UK’s new agricultural policy understand and take account of the sector’s key issues.
Under the hot July sun the fruit industry came together in record numbers to share views, test new technology, debate new research and gain knowledge and connections. With an attendance of over 1300 visitors, Fruit Focus again delivered a backdrop for the sector to demonstrate its vibrancy and seek to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that exist.
“Consumer demand for berries continues its significant growth,” commented Nick Marston, Managing Director of Berry Gardens. “The market is now worth over a billion pounds, with growth of 17.7%¹ in value year on year with significant opportunities across many categories.”
”This year’s Fruit Focus has again showed us that technology and research is strong in our sector, driving season length, quality and innovation. We saw tremendous interest from visitors in our new instore Coolio unit which has proved very effective in driving impulse purchases at supermarket checkouts’.”
It was standing room only as the first of the NFU Fruit Forums kicked off, setting the tone for the rest of the day. “It is so vital for us to have opportunities such as Fruit Focus to meet producers and hear their views,” commented Ali Capper Chairman of the NFU’s Horticulture and Potato’s Board. “Now more than ever we need a single voice for our industry to ensure our messages, particularly on labour availability and crop protection are heard by our new Government team. Without labour at the time we need it, UK horticulture alongside other farming sectors will simply not be able to deliver the produce to our supermarket shelves.”
On a day when Christine Tacon spelt out the need for producers to come to her where they felt retailers had breached the Code, there was a feeling of optimism around the show that the sector was moving forwards.
“We had a tremendous show,” said Claire Seymour of NP Seymour, “the level of interest in our driverless tractor demonstrations was huge. The appetite for precision tools and ones which deliver efficiencies, management information and, in particular, labour savings is only going to increase and encourage us to innovate further.”
Commenting after the event Jon Day, Event Director, Haymarket said: “We have been delighted with the attendance and the quality of the technical content available to visitors. There was a real buzz around the showground and although there are big issues to address this always feels more surmountable when consumer demand for our products is strong.
“I would like to thank all our exhibitors and sponsors for making the day such a success and lastly but by no means least my team here from Haymarket who have done a tremendous job in putting together such an interesting and well run event. We look forward to staying in touch with everyone during the year and seeing you in 2017.”
Notes to Editors
- Fruit Focus took place on Wednesday 20th July 2016 at East Malling, Kent. Opening times 9am – 5pm.
- Show features included leading suppliers’ stands, crop plots, a live demonstration arena, the NFU Fruit Forums, NIAB EMR Research Tours and the Vines to Wines exhibition and workshop programme
- Key sponsors – NFU and Berry Gardens
- Fresh Produce Journal is event media partner
- Fruit Focus is organised and presented by Haymarket Exhibitions and supported by Horticulture Week/Grower
- Visitors qualified for BASIS pointsand NRoSO CPD points for attending the event.
Fruit Focus PR