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Press Release

BAPL adds voice to industry feedback on contractual relationships

In February 2024, British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) contributed to an industry-wide response to DEFRA’s consultation on contracts in the UK fresh produce sector.

READ THE JOINT SUBMISSION ON CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIPS IN FRESH PRODUCE 

The DEFRA consultation and review into fairness in the horticulture supply chain ran from late 2023 to February 2024. The review was part of government activities to support British farmers and improve food security. The focus of this review was on fresh produce.

BAPL along with British Growers Association, British Berry Growers, British Tomato Growers Association and GB Potatoes created a joint submission for this DEFRA review into contractual relationships in the UK fresh produce industry. 

The crop associations’ submission sets out 13 clear recommendations to secure a more equitable and resilient agri-food sector.

Access the full submission from BAPL and other crop associations.

 

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Press Release Research Research

BAPL R&D meeting on 31 January 2024

British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) R&D meeting.

The BAPL research and development team hosted a full day of presentations from researchers and experts to share the latest in crop protection technologies and approaches. 

Audience at BAPL R&D Day

The meeting took place in Kent on 31 January 2024 and was open to members of BAPL who pay a levy to support this vital R&D work.

Rob Saunders, who chairs the BAPL R&D team provided this message at the start of the day.

Following Rob’s opening remarks, the apple and pear growers heard a range of fascinating presentations.

Click on the programme items to open the relevant slide decks (where available). 

 

Programme item Presented by
Welcome and introduction to the BAPL R&D programme ​ (PDF)

Rachel McGauley

PaPPle ​(PDF) NIAB EMR ​
Francis Wamonje​
Matevz Papp-Rupar​
Sarah Arnold​
Michelle Fountain ​
Charles Whitfield​
Scab efficacy trial​ (PDF) Tom Passey NIAB EMR​
Woodlice​ (PDF) Rory Jones ADAS​
Storage (PDF) Richard Colgan NRI and Rachel McGauley​
Climate change survey​ (PDF) Graham Dow
Biochar and LCAs​ (PDF) Russell Graydon
Future projects ​ Rachel McGauley
HCP Update​ (PDF) Simon Conway
EAMU/EA and Risk Register for 2024/25 onwards ​(PDF) Carlos Duarte
R&D Grower Subscription Update ​ Ali Capper
Q&A All

Biochar presenter at BAPL R&D Day

In addition to the presentations, pop-up stands were provided by:

  • Landseer
  • Grid Duck
  • Stemy Energy 
  • NIAB EMR and Growing Kent and Medway
  • HCP 
  • ADAS

Finally, PhD student Charlotte Howard shared a post presentation on the benefits of flower strips in orchards. This was not funded by BAPL, but highly relevant to growers.

 

Categories
Press Release Research Research

New call for research proposals on IPM in apples and pears

British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) research and development team has published a research call for proposals aimed at improving integrated pest and disease management (IPM) in commercial apples and pears.  

The new apple and pear IPM research programme will concentrate on the current issues for the apple and pear industry as well as areas that are likely to increase in importance with the future loss of key actives and potentially new and invasive pests and diseases.

Download full details of the call for IPM research.

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Press Release

Aldi tops first quarter new season British apple sales, and Tesco rallies

October to December 2023 marked the first quarter of the new season British apple sales and the latest data from British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) reveals which supermarkets were best at backing British.

Having typically been in the top two of supermarkets for British apple sales in previous years, Tesco’s relatively low British apple volumes in October 2023 (1,826 tonnes) meant it struggled to catch its competitors in the first quarter.

Tesco did top the chart for British apple sales in November (3,104 tonnes) and December 2023 (3,582 tonnes), but that wasn’t enough to beat Aldi’s consistently high performance over the first quarter of the new season.

BAPL growers sold 9,096 tonnes of British apples to Aldi in the first quarter of the 2023/4 season. That meant the discounter sold 20% of all UK apples bought from BAPL growers in that period – significantly outperforming its grocery market share of 9.3%.

Tesco only bought 18% (8,412 tonnes) of all British apples supplied by BAPL growers in the first quarter of the new season, underperforming against their grocery market share of 27.6%.

Like its fellow discounter, Lidl also outperformed compared to its grocery market share, buying 17% (7,726 tonnes) of all British apples sold by BAPL growers compared to its 7.7% grocery market share.

Sainsbury’s also performed well, buying 17% (7,863 tonnes) of all British apples sold by BAPL growers compared to its 15.8% grocery market share.

In addition to Tesco falling short of its supermarket share, Asda was the other disappointment. Asda bought just 5% (2,210 tonnes) of all British apples sold by BAPL growers compared to its market share of 13.6%.

Executive chair of BAPL, Ali Capper, commented: “The start of the new British apple season is a crucial time for our growers. We know shoppers are very keen to get their hands on the delicious new season fruit and we’ve had some great support from many of the supermarkets this year.

“Despite a good performance in November and December, Tesco’s slow start to the season meant they were unable to catch their competitors in our British apple sales league table for the first quarter of the new season. However, once again Aldi and Lidl significantly outperformed against their grocery market share and really got behind British top fruit. Sainsbury’s too managed to outperform its market share, which was great news. We hope that all the supermarkets will get behind British for the remainder of the year.

“In terms of volume, our growers tell us that the 2023/24 British apple season will be average and a bit below the bumper year we had in 2022/23. We also know that individual fruit size this year is on average slightly larger. That’s why we’re delighted that Aldi and Sainsbury’s have both agreed to introduce a four-pack of British apples. This will help the picked British apple crop last that bit longer into the rest of the year, giving shoppers the access to home-grown apples for as long as possible. It’s an approach that we hope other UK supermarkets will soon follow.

BAPL publishes monthly sales data on our website: https://www.britishapplesandpears.co.uk/supermarket-sales-data/

The following table provides an aggregated summary of the first quarter (specifically 25th September 2023 to 31st December 2023) of the 2023/24 British apple season.

Notes:

  • Data collated from BAPL growers in January 2024
  • Grocery market share data from Kantar (24 December 2023)
  • ‘Others’ total grocery market share includes Ocado, Other Outlets, Symbols and Independent
  • Grocery market share data not available for M&S
Categories
Press Release

BAPL provides strong evidence and clear call for action to EFRA Committee

On Tuesday 9th January 2024, executive chair of BAPL, Ali Capper gave evidence to the EFRA (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Committee on Fairness in the Food Supply Chain.

Watch the EFRA Select Committee recording

Ali reminded the committee that over the last two years, growers have faced a 30% increase in the cost of production. At the same time, returns to farmers have averaged just 8%.

Fundamentally, there’s a big gap between the increases in costs facing growers and what they are receiving back from supermarkets.

Negotiating with supermarkets

Ali provided insights into the annual contract negotiations between top fruit growers and the major supermarkets. She explained it’s very difficult to go back into a retailer to negotiate for increases once a contract has been signed, yet top fruit growing faces short-term cost challenges and long-term investment decisions.

“Ordering apple and pear trees this year, they will arrive in two years, and they’ll be in full production in six years.” Ali Capper explained. “Given the current economic situation and the nature of supermarket contracts, you need a crystal ball to operate effectively in that kind of time frame.

“With supermarkets, you’re talking about an annual negotiation. Almost all supermarkets will want a fixed price for the season – the whole 12 months. Most of the retailers used to come to us in June or July, when we knew what we had on the trees and there would be a negotiation.

“Now, half of the retailers are trying to negotiate in February, when we’ve got no idea what we’ve got. And the other half are pushing the negotiations into August or September. In the case of the start of season 2023, one retailer even pushed negotiations into the middle of October.  Most of the crop is harvested and in store by then.

“Can you imagine the emotional stress to the farmer who has harvested his crop and still hasn’t got a price agreed? You can see where the balance of power sits and it isn’t with the grower.”

Changing the cheap food policy

Ali clearly explained to the Committee: “We have a cheap food policy in this country and that policy is driving out British food producers. We have to start championing what we produce at home and accepting that it might not be the cheapest.

“We have to get real. We need to look at the climate change maps. The UK is in a good place to grow food going forward. Why are we not investing in that? Let’s aim to grow food production in the UK by 30%.”

Six recommendations for EFRA Select Committee

On behalf of BAPL, Ali Capper put six clear recommendations in front of the EFRA Select Committee:

  1. To immediately write to the CEO of every major retailer to call for recognition of farm input inflation and fair pricing. In addition, the committee should demand long-term multi-year contracts between retailers and growers that enable farmers to make a profit and reinvest in their orchards and pack houses.
  2. To impose the fair dealing clause from the Agricultural Act. The contract obligations around pricing mechanisms are particularly important. BAPL offered to help the government with a framework for each crop sector to ensure that the fair dealing clause works.
  3. To remove the cap on seasonal workers and to make the Seasonal Workers Scheme a 5-year scheme.
  4. To include commercial horticulture in the ETII (Energy and Trade Intensive Industries) scheme now to protect growers from future potential hikes in energy prices.
  5. To ensure that future carbon border adjustments are developed to include food. This would mean that British growers are not competing with cheap imports with a much higher carbon and water footprint, while being targeted to reduce their footprints here.
  6. To ensure that ELMs (Environmental Land Management) work with food production, not instead of it. For example, recognising the value to the environment of orchards and steps like planting wildflowers between rows of fruit trees.

You can hear more from Ali Capper at the EFRA Committee via this recording.

 

Categories
Press Release

Four simple steps to ensure you can buy British apples

We know you want to buy British apples and pears. Empower yourself to find delicious British apples and pears with these simple steps!

  1. Look for the Union Jack
    Start by keeping an eye out for the iconic Union Jack on packaging and signage. Some supermarkets even feature it on their point-of-sale displays (POS). It’s the easiest and quickest way to spot our tasty home-grown apples and pears and ensure you always buy British.
  2. Check the White Box
    Take a closer look at the white information box on the packet. This important section provides key details about the apple or pear variety and the origins of the fruit inside. Even if you don’t see Union Jack packaging, this clear section on each packet will let you know you’re holding Great British fruits.
  3. Ask the Fresh Produce Manager
    Still having trouble finding our delicious British apples and pears? No worries! Head over to the fresh produce section and ask for the manager. They’re there to help you, and they might have some insider knowledge to help you locate those British apples and pears.
  4. Keep Asking
    Persistence pays off! If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for from the section managers, ask the store manager. They will want to provide what’s important to their customers. Sometimes a recent delivery may have sold out, but they’ll likely restock soon. Keep checking, and you’ll be enjoying British apples and pears in no time!

By following these steps, you not only get to enjoy the best of British produce but also send a strong message to your supermarket about supporting local growers.

Let’s make a difference together!

#BritishApples #SupportLocal #ChooseBritish




Categories
Press Release Research

New data reveals British apple industry is on a knife-edge

Double digit cost of production increases, low returns and low grower confidence

British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) has published a new set of data that highlights the continued struggles for beleaguered UK top fruit growers.

The full set of data is the largest ever released at one time by the industry.

Over the two years since 2021, British apple growers faced 30% increases in costs of production and received just 8% increases in returns from supermarkets.

In 2022, growers faced cost of production [1] increases of 23% and practically static returns from supermarkets that year of 0.8%. In 2023, British apple growers faced 6-9% cost of production [2] increases and received an average of 7% increases in returns [3] from UK supermarkets.

“This situation is unsustainable.” Said executive chair of BAPL, Ali Capper. “The industry is on a knife edge. I’ve never heard such desperation from our members. When you think about what a good news story our industry should be, it’s heart breaking. Apples are a superfood – great for our health, the environment and our rural economy.

“The volatility in costs has become the biggest challenge faced by growers, many of them out of their control from labour and energy to the ever-increasing cost of the audit burden. We should not be talking about the slow decline of British apple orchards, and generations of family farm businesses at risk of bankruptcy.”

Comments from British apple growers who completed the BAPL survey reveal the stark situation many of them face:

“I’m retiring from growing apples and my son doesn’t want to touch them. He’s seen the returns.”

“As a younger solo grower having taken on the fruit farm, I am incredibly frustrated at how little the supermarkets are willing to pay, whilst also increasing ‘hoops’ to jump through.”

“The industry is in crisis. The price setters are killing us.”    

“I have been growing fruit for over 40 years and never found it so difficult.”           

“Prices have stagnated for the last five years.”                                             

Given this situation, confidence in British apple growing is understandably low:

  • 70% of growers said they are less confident than they were a year ago.
  • Just 3% of growers said they have a ‘true partnership’ with supermarkets, while 45% say retailers only buy on price and that it’s not a true partnership.
  • Almost half (45%) of respondents said they have scaled back their future investment plans.

“Ultimately, it’s not just British growers that are losing out, it’s UK shoppers too.” Continued Ali Capper.

“According to The Grocer’s analysis of Assosia data, in the two years from November 2021 to November 2023, the price of apples has increased significantly with the average price in Aldi rising by 12.6%, Lidl 12.1%, Tesco by 10.9% and Sainsbury’s by 9.1%. Together these four retailers sell over 70% of all British apples and pears. And the averages hide some startling extremes, Lidl’s Oaklands Red Apples 2kg went up by 50%, Morrisons British Apples (six pack) went up 39% and Tesco increased the price of its Rosedene Farms Gala apples (six pack) by 36%.     

“Unfortunately, those consumer price increases are not being matched by the much-needed returns to growers.”

In response to the crisis in the industry, BAPL has set out three critical changes needed to save British apple orchards:

  • Supermarkets to increase returns to growers to reflect the true costs of production and necessary investment.
  • Supermarkets to enter longer-term arrangements with growers to give farmers the confidence to grow this perennial crop, invest in much-needed technology, varieties and automation.
  • Supermarkets to put action behind their words of support for British farming with in-store and online merchandising that celebrates our wonderful fruit.

The BAPL data is not all bad news. Several supermarkets have undertaken excellent promotional work to celebrate the start of the current British apple season. This has included TV advertising by Lidl, print ads and social media farmer profiles by Waitrose and an email campaign, point-of-sale and social media posts by Marks & Spencer.

The promotional support for British apples has resulted in excellent October British apple sales results for some supermarkets, as reported by BAPL in November. Lidl in particular significantly outperformed its market share, selling more than any other supermarket in October (3,030 tonnes). Unfortunately, a number of UK supermarkets have been slower to get behind British apples this season and have instead been importing apples from overseas at a time when UK fruit is in plentiful supply.

British Growers Insights data revealed that in the seven-week period from 2nd October 2023 to 13th November 2023, just 16.7% of the Gala apple packs (SKUs) on shelf in Tesco were British and only 20% of Asda apple packs were British. That compares to 100% in Marks & Spencer and Lidl, and 82.4% in Waitrose, 77.8% in Sainsbury’s.

“It’s astounding to our growers that when we have new season British apples that taste great readily available close to home, supermarkets persist in buying from overseas. UK consumers, who want to buy British whenever they can, are being disadvantaged – and so are British apple growers.”

-ENDS- 

About the BAPL Grower Survey

BAPL commissioned British Growers to survey its members during November 2023. 30 growers and 10 packers responded. The survey was anonymous.  

The Grocer, Assosia Data (Nov 2021 to Nov 2023:

The Grocer’s analysis of Assosia data compared the price of 77 substantially British sourced lines available both at the end of November 2021 and November 2023 in the big four, discounters, Waitrose and Co-op.

Aldi average: 12.62%

Ada average: 8.36%

Co-op average: 3.92%

Lidl average: 12.05%

Morrisons average: 17.41%

Sainsbury’s average: 9.12%

Tesco average: 10.91%

Waitrose: 4.37%

TOTAL AVERAGE: 9.84%

 

NOTES AND REFERENCES

[1] 2022 cost of production data from NFU Promar

[2] 2023 cost of production grower workshop Dec 2023 from independent farm consultants, Andersons Consulting

[3] BAPL grower survey conducted in November 2023 by British Growers on behalf of BAPL. See above for more details.

Categories
Press Release

Lidl tops British apple month sales as Tesco falls short of 2022 performance

British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) has published sales figures for October 2023, which was British Apple Month and the first month proper of the British apple season.

VIEW LATEST DATA

In October 2023, Lidl significantly outperformed its market share, buying 3,030 tonnes of new season British apples via BAPL members. This represents 22.1% of all British apple sales in October, compared to their grocery market share of just 7.6%[1].

Unfortunately, other retailers have been slower to get behind new season British apples. In October 2022, Tesco topped the British apple sales chart with 2,902 tonnes. However, in October 2023 the UK’s biggest supermarket only bought 1,325 tonnes of British apples. That’s less than half its volume of October 2022.

October 2023 apple sales data

Commenting on the start of British apple season, Ali Capper, executive chair of BAPL, said: “Lidl’s performance is outstanding. They really got behind British apples in our first month of the new season. Sainsbury’s and Aldi also did very well, taking 2,764 and 2,628 tonnes of British apples respectively during the month.

“For Tesco to be so far behind last year – down 54% – and to be in fourth place in our league table for the month is very disappointing. We know from consumer comments on our social channels that they get very excited about buying new season, home-grown British apples. Sadly, Tesco has let them and British top fruit growers down.”

In October 2023, Tesco sold 9.8% of all British apples sales, compared to their grocery market share 27.4%.

Full details of BAPL member monthly sales can be viewed at: https://www.britishapplesandpears.co.uk/supermarket-sales-data.

[1] Kantar Grocery Market Share figure represents 12 weeks ending 29/10/23

 

Categories
Press Release Health Health Research

Apples the ‘new’ superfood

Take a fresh look at the humble British apple. They not only taste delicious, they’re a superfood. 

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Press Release

Aldi recognised as British apple supermarket of the year 2023

As we mark the start of British Apple Month 2023 (October), British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL), the UK top fruit grower association, is delighted to announce Aldi is the 2023 apple supermarket of the year.

The award is based on BAPL member sales to British supermarkets from September 2022 to end of August 2023. As the last of the 2022 apple and pear crop has now been sold, BAPL can reveal the supermarket of the year.

In the year starting September 2022, Aldi sold 32,165 tonnes of British dessert apples, ahead of Tesco that sold 28,954 and Sainsbury’s that sold 24,448 tonnes.

Commenting on this achievement, Ali Capper, executive chair of BAPL, said: “Aldi’s commitment to British has been growing every year. With a grocery market share of only 10.2%, we are delighted to see Aldi significantly over-indexing for British apples. Aldi sold 23% of all British apples last year – the greatest volume of any UK supermarket, just pipping Tesco’s 21%. For Aldi to sell more than double the expected volume (based on grocery market share) is an excellent performance and one which we hope other retailers will emulate.”

In addition to the above award for performance in the most recent year, BAPL has also looked back over the last three years to identify longer term support for the category. In terms of all apple and pear sales over the last three years (2019 crop to 2022 crop inclusive), Sainsbury’s sold the most (117,892 tonnes), with Tesco second (116,869 tonnes) and Aldi in third (111,373 tonnes).

“It’s so important all our supermarkets get behind British farmers and our wonderful British apples and pears. Buying British over imported fruit saves on food miles, and we know consumers want British if at all possible. When we have such wonderful fruit available in good quantities, that will store well, there really is no reason to look overseas. It would be great to see every retailer making it much easier for the shopper to find British apples and pears in their stores and online.”

BAPL continues to publish monthly UK apple sales data at: https://www.britishapplesandpears.co.uk/supermarket-sales-data.

[1] https://www.kantarworldpanel.com/en/grocery-market-share/great-britain/snapshot/06.08.23/


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