Soft fruit sales have flourished thanks to healthy eating trends, increasing availability and wider choice. However there is no time for complacency in a very dynamic market where commoditisation can very quickly bring profit margins down. Diversification holds the key to the industry's continuing success and novel fruit crops seem the obvious starting point.
Black raspberries are extremely aromatic and could soon join their red and yellow relatives in the UK market as a cultivar trial is being funded by the Horticultural Development Company.
Hardy kiwis are much smaller than conventional kiwis and their sweet flavour combined with a smooth edible skin makes them an ideal snack. EMR has set up an experimental planting, which will start fruiting in 2010.
More unknown are haskaps, a uniquely flavoured purple-blue berry from the honeysuckle family, which are very popular in Japan, and paw-paws, a temperate tree fruit from North America that, despite its exotic flavour, should not be confused with the tropical papaya.