The grower plans to produce better-tasting fruit and increase yields to boost profits for pear producers. The four premium varieties Delsanne, Gourmande, Verdi and Elliott have not previously been grown in the UK.
The pear market offered a great sales opportunity, according to technical director Mike Jobbins. "We are very keen to reinvigorate the category and offer some genuine innovation to help grow the sales of British pears," he said.
The company expects to harvest a small volume of pears in 2011 but will up the amount to 60 tonnes per hectare within five years. The orchard is at Rankins Farm in Kent, where Sainsbury's Concept Apple Orchard is sited.
Pear sales have risen 3.9% to 129,713 packs [Kantar 52w/e 21 February 2010].