Angus Soft Fruits
- Sector: Food & Drink
- Country: UK
Fruits of labour
For the best part of 25 years, Angus Soft Fruits has been refining the art of growing flavoursome berries. Established in 1994 by the Porter and Gray families, its mission has been to sell the fruit they grow directly to the retailer, and to ensure that fruit is always of the highest quality.
The work the family has put in is substantial, but so are the results. The company now has procurement and sales offices in the Netherlands, Spain and Poland, meaning that it can supply European retailers and grow a loyal following on the continent. But rapid expansion is matched by the growth in turnover. In 2015, revenue was at £70m; now it is £120m.
“We now grow berries in Morocco, Spain, Portugal and Zimbabwe to satisfy our Scottish consumers’ increasing year-round demand for berries,” says John Gray, Commercial Director for Angus Soft Fruits.
“We have also successfully extended the Scottish fruit season, resulting in more Scottish produce and year-round employment.”
At the company’s R&D site, new varieties of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are being bred on a continuous basis, thereby bringing a wider variety of fruit to the market, whose flavour, appearance, shelf life and yield is of greater quality.
“The aim of our breeding programme is to raise the standard and quality of the fruit available,” John says. “We also want to make sure that the fruit we breed is better economically for the grower, both in terms of yield and ease of picking.”
The company is now looking to improve the disease resistance of new varieties. This will not only boost the quality of the berries, but also reduce the company’s usage and dependence on pesticides.
Long ago, the company had set out to achieve a more reliable variety than farmers were previously growing, focusing on extending the seasons, reducing picking costs and, ultimately, producing consistently better tasting fruit. All this combined has meant Angus Soft Fruits, like the berries it produces, just keeps on growing.