KG sales hit all-time high; fruit quality good and warm weather has boosted trade English strawberry growers have so far enjoyed one of the best seasons ever. Late fruiting varieties will drive the season on until the autumn. Up to now fruit quality has been good and the hot weather has boosted sales. Nick Marston, md of KG Fruits, the marketing subsidiary of KG Growers, added: "The supermarkets have really worked hard for us." Group sales exceeded 1,000 tonnes a week for the first time and at one point reached an all-time high of 1,250 tonnes, said Marston. Up to July 27, direct sales rose by a third from 4,500 tonnes to 5,950 tonnes year-on-year from a production area 22% larger. Growers will also be looking for cash rebates, much in the same way as shareholders. Last season they shared £390,000. The group is now trialling new forms of convenience packaging to bring the fruit to a wider range of retail customers. Specially designed atmosphere packs for longer life incorporating a pot of cream and a fork are being tested to develop the fast food and snacking market. Additionally, a whole fruit pack with a spoon and sugar is aimed at outlets such as garage forecourts and convenience stores. KG is the UK's largest soft fruit producer organisation. Its 73 members with a total of 1,500 hectares grow over 13,000 tonnes of strawberries and 800 tonnes of raspberries. KG's turnover of £50m accounts for 52% of total UK production and 85% of its crop goes to the multiples. {{M/E FRESH PRODUCE }}