Strawberry sales have fallen over the past year as consumers opt for cheaper fruit.

UK sales fell 3% to £390m in the 12 months to 20 April [TNS], while volume slumped 9.2%.

"It's to do with the credit crunch," said TNS analyst David Farmer. "Straw­berries have quite a high price point and people are now looking at having different fruit or something else for dessert."

Strawberries were also less likely to be used as a complementary item with products such as cereals, Farmer added, although they are being eaten more often away from home and with packed lunches.

Despite the sales dip, growers are working on new varieties and are confident consumers will buy back into the category.

New varieties include Elegance, Albion, Pasadena, Sasha and Camarillo, which breeders say produce high-yielding, excellent-tasting fruit that bring good returns to producers.