French fresh produce company Sofruileg is in talks with UK fruit growers to establish a local supply of kiwiberries.

Sofruileg - which produces Nergi-branded kiwiberries - supplies UK retailers through wholesalers, but the fruits are currently grown in France and Luxembourg. The company is now in talks with UK growers to establish kiwiberry orchards in the UK.

Sofruileg is primarily looking at Kent, but is also considering other regions with the right growing conditions. “We are looking for growers in all UK production areas which are conducive to produce good quality fruit and good yields,” said project manager Jean Pierre Caruel.

Sofruileg aims to start planting crops in next spring and says it will take three years before it can go into production.

The kiwiberries are a species closely related to the kiwifruit but about the size of a damson and sweeter. They are only sold in small quantities in the UK, but their popularity is growing.

Speaking at the Global Berry Congress last week, Andy Jackson, fruit category manager at Asda’s supply arm IPL, said kiwiberries were still a small line, but they were “a great product.”