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Source: British Berry Growers/Co-op

The growers’ group has announced that Co-op achieved the highest volume growth in berry sales with a 22.1% increase across all berries

The Co-op has achieved the highest growth in berry sales this year, according to British Berry Growers.

The growers’ group said the retailer had increased volume growth by 22.1% across all berry categories.

This was ahead of Marks & Spencer, with a total increase of 13%, and Lidl, with a total increase of 6.7%.

“Co-op’s commitment to buying British berries has been growing year on year,” said BBG chairman Nick Marston. “With a rise of 22.1% volume sales across all berries, we are delighted to see Co-op ‘over-indexing’ on year-on-year growth. It’s an achievement we hope other retailers will emulate.”

Berry sales have been up in both volume and value in the mults, rising 7.7% and 11.4% respectively [Kantar May-October 2023], and outpacing fruit, which rose by 0.8% in volume and 7.8% in value.

The growth, the industry body said, was driven by price promotions and premium own-label berry lines, which have encouraged shoppers to trade up.

“It’s so important all our supermarkets get behind our growers,” said Marston. “Buying British over imported berries saves on food miles, and we know consumers want British where possible.”

The only berry to see a decline in sales was raspberries, which British Berry Growers attributed to disproportionately high labour costs forcing growers to scale back production.

But despite the surge in sales, UK berry growers continue to face serious challenges, with input costs increasing by over 30% over the past two years, BBG said.

Co-op buyer Mark Cloudy said: “It’s been a fantastic year for the team, from being the first retailer to reveal it was providing 100% British strawberries for the King’s coronation, to our ongoing support and close working relationships with our British growers and suppliers throughout the season – a partnership approach which has delivered a 22% growth this year on British berries volumes, and provided great taste, quality and value for our members and customers in communities across the UK.”