Total sales turnover reached £242 million, an increase of 14% year on year, said Berry Gardens chairman Alastair Brooks during the group’s forty third annual meeting at the Royal Windsor Race Course.

In his inaugural annual meeting speech, Mr Brooks reflected on the previous two years. “After enduring two seasons of difficult weather in 2012 and 2013, the early season last year was very welcome and has helped us achieve a 13% increase in UK sales,” he said.

The import business also grew significantly at 20% helped by the increased capacity at the Berry Gardens packhouse. The record breaking year will reward Berry Garden’s growers with the largest rebate in the cooperative’s history.

“The boards strategy of investing in the production and marketing of high quality exclusive varieties of berries with our long term partner Driscoll’s and exclusive cherry varieties from world leading breeding programmes continues to set us apart from competitors,” Mr Brooks continued. “We have enjoyed market share growth across many lines. Our grower owned structure – and thus rebates to growers rather than dividends to owners – further enables our members to invest in production for the future.
“The high street continues to evolve at a pace with the discounters forging ahead with ambitious growth plans and the shopping patterns of the UK consumer challenging the way we package, market and sell soft fruit. With our continued focus on quality and delighting our customers we will provide a sustainable future for our members in an exciting category.

“With our continued investment in both the Berry Gardens’ agronomy team and research and development underpinned by our strength as a cooperative, Berry Gardens will continue to lead the market.”

Pictured: Nicholas Marston (Berry Gardens managing director) and Alastair Brooks (Berry Gardens chairman)