Moves to increase carrot consumption over the next two years may get a boost from the Horticultural Development Council if a request for an extra £60,000 funding by the British Carrot Growers’ Association is approved.
The association, which represents nearly 90% of the £187m industry, has already agreed to fund a £100,000 PR push beginning in January.
Packers as well as growers have given it their support.
Details were unveiled by consultant Pam Lloyd at BCGA's annual conference in Peterborough. Based
initially on media contact, there are also plans to launch a web site, increase the use of the crop for snacking, and push for greater inclusion of the vegetable as a snack in children's lunchboxes.
Consumption has been declining at around 3% annually. Research shows that the average purchase is only some 20 times a year. However, home-grown crops dominate the market, with British carrots at 88% market penetration.
The product has also improved in appearance with the development of carrot polishers that provide a brighter, cleaner sample. Yorkshire grower Guy Poskitt said: “Traditional barrel-washed carrots look inferior by comparison and do not have the required eye appeal. The revolution in the quality of prepacks has now become the norm,” he said.
Prepacks are also increasing their share of the market of loose, rising from 40.9% to 45.8% in the past three years [TNS].
Andy Laing, sales and marketing director of Scotland-based Kettle Produce, said: "The loose price has returned to a sensible level, but are they now too cheap?”
Meanwhile, value sales of organic carrots are up 9% this year on a volume increase of 17%, with most sales in the south of the UK.
David Shapley