In recent years, UK fruit growers have made significant changes in their businesses in response to changes in government policy, increased competition from imports and increased costs driven by factors such as availability and cost of labour, availability of resources like water, planning restraints on polytunnels etc. Diversification has become important to the fruit industry and each sector can provide examples of growers who have embraced change and subsequently reaped the rewards. The UK market is currently benefiting from increased promotion and interest in healthy eating, and consumers have become more adventurous with fruit, appreciating a wider choice of fresh produce. It is therefore a good time for the UK market to accept novel fruit crops, and diversification into this area may provide some growers with new opportunities for their businesses.
NIAB EMR’s long-standing expertise in ornamental and fruit crops encompassing plant physiology, entomology and pathology as well as breeding and genetics, uniquely positions us to trial novel food crops and evaluate their potential for the UK horticultural industry. We are currently planning the establishment of a demonstration plot featuring a range of novel or minor fruit species.
For further information about EMR’s Novel Crops research, please contact Feli Fernandez via firstname.lastname@example.org.