PdB looks to fill the gap Breton vegetable growers are anticipating an increase in exports to the UK this summer. They believe they can fill a gap in supply expected to open up in May between the end of Spanish production and the delayed start to the UK's indigenous crops. Regional marketing organisation Prince de Bretagne is boosting its promotional budget for instore tastings and is wooing UK multiples with a range of new packs. One for broccoli, using a British permeable film creating its own atmosphere, could have a major impact, said PdB marketing director Olivier Sinquin. "It can keep the product fresh for three weeks, giving long shelf life and reducing the risk of deterioration." Sinquin said it would also make the distribution of mixed crops possible. "When previously shipped with tomatoes, the broccoli went yellow very quickly because of the ethylene," he said. The pack is more expensive, around 35p per unit more than conventional bags. But the presentation has already been accepted by other European supermarkets. "Demand is increasing 25% a year and we are winning the battle on retail shelves," said Sinquin. The Brittany broccoli crop is estimated to be in the region of 2,500 hectares, producing some 19,000 tonnes. Last year UK shipment figures were in the region of 520 tonnes, although Sinquin thinks this figure will increase substantially. PdB will also be launching two new potato brands, Primaline and Blondes de Terre, to identify the earliest hand harvested varieties. Sinquin revealed that the crop marketed between May and June has fallen in size drastically. The 55,000 tonne figure is 20,000 tonnes down on last year. However Sinquin said he still expected the UK to import around 13,500 tonnes. There are also plans to develop mini vegetables, on show in Harrods where Brittany officially launched its season. {{M/E FRESH PRODUCE }}