The company that markets Pink Lady apples in the UK has been given an award for its work in establishing them as a clear premium proposition in the otherwise highly commoditised UK fresh produce market.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing's Food, Drink and Agriculture group gave its annual Excellence in Marketing award to marketing company Coregeo at a dinner last Thursday.

Chairman of the CIM FDA group John Giles said Coregeo's success in turning Pink Lady into a "true brand" had made it a clear winner. "Thanks to Coregeo's persistence, hard work and expertise, we feel the Pink Lady apple business model has become the benchmark for branded agriculture and food," he said.

As he recieved the award, Coregeo's Andy MacDonald said consumer awareness of Pink Lady continued to climb, with 67% of UK consumers now familiar with the brand, up 14% on January last year. Coregeo started importing Pink Lady apples into the UK in 1992, selling initially to Marks & Spencer. Sales of the apples have increased rapidly over the past decade, rising from 600,000 boxes in 2000 to 3 million boxes last year.