This year retailers are expected to focus their promotional activity on the English origin of their pears, rather than price. The fruit will also benefit from the European-wide Fruitness Enjoy it! campaign, in which green leotard-wearing superhero Mr Fruitness advises children across the Continent to eat pears during autumn and winter.
The main home-grown varieties produced in commercial quantities are Conference, Comice and Concorde. English Conference makes up about 23,000 tonnes of the annual English pear harvest, Comice adds a further 2,500 to 3,000 tonnes, and Concorde about 2,000.
In terms of this year’s harvest, production volume is down across Europe by 15% compared with last year as a result of frost damage to blossoms. However, lower volumes are compensated for by an increase in individual fruit size and a particularly good skin finish. Every year the British pear market requires considerable imports from countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium to supplement English supply.