The main California Bing cherry season has been delayed by three weeks but is expected to be up in volume on last year.

Wet and cold weather hit last year's crop, with exports to the UK down 50% compared with the previous year. But according to the California Cherry Advisory Board, this year's fruit is "looking good" in terms of quality and it expects higher sales.

The season for Bing, which tends to be bigger than other cherry varieties, begins at the start of June and runs until the first week of July.

Waitrose, M&S, Tesco and Sainsbury are expected to be stocking Bing in selected stores this year with promotional material at point of sale.

Bing cherry growers claim that their fruit is sweeter than other varieties and plan to urge consumers to request them instead of Picotas. The CCAB will be running in-store tastings in selected supermarkets.

Neil Gordon of NMG Consulting, which represents the CCAB in the UK, said: "California Bings command a premium price and leading supermarkets use them tactically by creating attractive in-store displays at the entrance to fresh produce sections.

"The arrival of California Bing cherries virtually starts the summer fruit season, and their extra size, striking dark red colour and sweetness signal a new sales opportunity for UK fruit retailers.

"Once consumers see and taste them they come back for more, and because of their unique qualities they are not as price sensitive as a great deal of other fruit."