Californian raisin producers will be going all out to raise their UK market share this year - despite being at a disadvantage because of the traditionally higher costs when up against Turkish packers.

US industry executives were holding strategy meetings in San Francisco this week with the hope of increasing their slice of the British dried raisin market from 23% to 30% by the end of 2004.

Mike Garrett, director of international programmes for the state’s raisin administrative committee, told The Grocer: “Our aim is to increase awareness of advantages and build on our place as number two in the market.”

Garrett was accompanied by director of UK programmes Peter Meadows, who joined the Californians last summer.

He added: “In addition to re-targeting the UK foodservice sector this year, we shall be talking to schools in a bid to raise awareness of raisins among young people.”

Meanwhile, the state’s producers are sky watching - hoping for the cold weather that is vital for the vines’ resting period that has so far proved elusive.