2019 is the year in which BerryWorld® celebrates 25 years in the soft fruit industry. Established in 1994, as a UK berry marketing desk, BerryWorld® has been pivotal in growing the berry market not only in the United Kingdom, but also more recently around the world.
The business has gone from strength to strength since being established 25 years ago, providing exclusive, leading berry varieties that change consumer expectations of how a berry should taste. The BerryWorld® Group now has offices in 7 countries but its principles remain very much the same, priding itself on long-standing grower relationships, proprietary breeding and an exclusive varietal offer, as well as expertise in marketing berries and prepared fruit.
Growing the berry world since 1994
The UK berry market has seen significant growth over the last 25 years, growing from less than £100m to over £1.4bn in retail value. Berries are the biggest and fastest growing category in produce, accounting for nearly 25% of the UK’s fruit sales. BerryWorld® have been part of this journey, seeing turnover grow consistently and now accounting for approximately 25% of the UK berry market. BerryWorld® now plans to replicate this growth in the international berry market and has invested in a number of market-leading breeding programmes around the world, gaining exclusive access to the next best genetic material for retailers and consumers.
Since securing an agreement with Edward Vinson in 1998, BerryWorld® has launched new and exclusive great-tasting strawberries. Key landmarks for BerryWorld® include the expansion of glasshouse production and the introduction of Sweet Eve™ genetics. These genetics are now grown and sold in the UK, Europe and Australia, with North America on the horizon.
Consumers are now demanding better flavour, bigger size and longer shelf life, which has led to huge investments by suppliers to grow the product in new territories, and new varietal programmes to ensure consumers receive consistently good tasting blueberries. In 2017, BerryWorld® secured exclusive rights to the Mountain Blue Orchards (MBO) programme in Europe and Africa to strengthen the offer and remain competitive within the market. This breeding programme includes many new exciting varieties, some awarded with iTQi’s Superior Taste awards.
In 2015, BerryWorld® introduced its first premium exclusive raspberry variety, Sapphire™. This game changing raspberry has been instrumental in growing the premium raspberry market. BerryWorld® has also released Diamond Jubilee™ to drive the growth of the core raspberry offer and the variety is now available across the UK, Europe, Australia, South Africa and North America.
Alongside the continual development of new varieties, BerryWorld® has worked hard to extend seasons and fill the gaps in periods that were traditionally challenging. Summer remains the biggest part of the berry season, but over the last 10 years, the import season has become more popular with shoppers. Penetration during the winter has grown throughout Europe with more shoppers buying berries during this period. The winter market in the UK is now worth an estimated £450m vs. £170m back in 2008.
BerryWorld® continue to innovate in the market, seeing great growth for retailers, through the launch of its brand, larger packs and innovative ways to sell flushes of fruit. The business has come a long way over the last 25 years with nearly 1 in 4 punnets in the UK market now supplied by BerryWorld®. The journey for BerryWorld® and its exclusive varieties is now gaining pace in Europe, Australia, South Africa and North America.
Celebrating Our People
“All of the achievements and success we have seen in recent years have only been possible because of our hard-working teams and talented, dedicated people. I would like to take the opportunity to celebrate our people and thank them for their service to the business. Many are longstanding employees and the original five staff members, who started with the business in 1994, are still with us today.” Adam Olins, CEO, proudly states.
Developing a Branded Offer
The BerryWorld® Group are market leading berry experts, covering all aspects of the soft fruit supply chain, selling the internationally recognised BerryWorld® and Beekers Berries® brands, as well as offering premium product to leading own label retailers. BerryWorld® hold an uncompromising commitment to providing innovative, market-leading products that start with best-in-class varietal development to deliver exceptional flavour.
“To mark our 25-year milestone, we are excited to announce we will be launching a newly designed brand during the course of 2019,” says Charlotte Knowles, Head of Brand and Marketing.