The Californian Tree Fruit Association is targeting growth in the UK this year, despite lower than average production of stone fruit.

The fruit marketing company has appointed London-based agency The Garden to help generate more interest in its members' peaches, plums and nectarines, initially in trade circles, before moving the message out into the consumer market.

CTFA believes that high-end female shoppers in Britain are an attractive target in marketing its fruit.

California exports some 220,000 tonnes of fruit each year to world markets and is hoping to exploit UK consumers' growing consciousness of the importance of healthy eating.

The growing season in the state runs for two months longer than the European season, starting a month earlier and finishing a month later.

Stone fruit sales have grown 12% year-on-year to £307m. [TNS].