Research by a number of organisations shows how shopping and eating habits across the UK have changed over the last 18 months and AC Goatham & Son can also report an increase in the sales of its Kent grown apples and pears nationally. This is a trend that is hoped to remain as the business continues its programme of new orchard planting in Kent and Medway.
Between 16/03/20 and 30/06/20 (the first lockdown) Goatham’s sold 43% more apple packs than the previous year and according to research by Kantar across the UK, 860,000 new households bought pears for the first time, which is good news for Goatham’s as it grows almost half of all British Conference pears.
Goatham’s is continuing its programme of new orchard planting with 137 acres planted winter 2020/21 and 148 acres planned for the coming winter. However, a record wet spring and the coldest May for 25 years might affect the 2021 crop and the year-on-year increase in crop size which would be expected from the new orchard planting.
“Ross Goatham, Managing Director at AC Goatham & Son comments: “People bought more apples and pears during the lockdowns here in the UK because they store well and last for a long time and this suited their pattern of shopping which moved online, to in-store collection and to less frequent shopping trips. Research also shows that 62% of Brits have made a change to their diet to be healthier over the past year and 33% are including more fruit and vegetables in their diets. This is good news for British growers like us who are continuing our major orchard planting programme, which will ensure there is a greater volume of British apples and pears in the years to come.”
“That said, like all farmers, our harvests are very dependent on the weather and this year we have seen a very wet, cold spring which is a poor combination when pollination is taking place in the orchards. The gains we would hope to make year on year with the increase in production as new orchard yields increase might be more modest this year, although it is still too early to estimate the effect the weather has had.”