There really doesn’t appear to be any 2 years the same in the UK dried vine fruit market and 2015 has proven to be no exception to that statement.
In 2014 rain at a critical time in Turkey created a swing back to California raisins and this year Turkey delivered a crop of about 325,000MT. However, the loyalty shown by many premium suppliers towards California raisins has been excellent and California raisins exported 11,497 metric tonnes. Despite being 45% down on last year, the UK remains the second largest market for California raisins exports behind the leading export market, Japan.
2016 looks different again, the frosts earlier in 2015 in Turkey has seen prices from the region increasing and there is speculation over what the Turkish sultana crop could end up totalling. In any event, it looks as though it will be significantly down on last year’s crop, some say maybe by as much as 100,000 MT.
However, having spoken with a number of key importers this past year it is clear that there is strong support and loyalty for California raisins. Although price is important it appears that this is not the only driving factor behind purchase. Particularly among many premium customers in retail multiples, bakery and confectionery.
Given all of the factors and variations year on year, the UK is still the number 2 destination for California Raisins, accounting last year about 10% of the total California Raisin exports of 120,505 tons. In fact global California raisin exports have decreased on the previous year in both Europe and Asia by 22%.
However, this deficit is expected to swing back again during 2016 following the adverse weather in Turkey in early 2015.
California raisins activities have helped drive demand in some key sectors, the consumer focus remains on mothers with children, and to a certain extent schools, and a greater use of social media has seen increased usage and followers, particularly on twitter. In addition a range of activities are aimed at the entire UK trade including wholesalers, retailers, bakers confectioners and manufacturers who collectively make up the bulk of the trade users of California raisins in the UK.
Earlier this year California Raisins developed 3 new interactive games via the California Raisins website.
The aim of the games was to promote the versatility of California raisins to consumers, targeting those who are health conscious, sport enthusiasts, mums and children. Through these interactive games, consumers could learn more about California Raisins, encouraging them to use raisins in baking and recipes as well as snacking.
Consumers were targeted in 4 categories; Parenting, Sport, Health and Food, through 4 websites; madeformums.com, 220triathlon.com, bbcgoodfood.com, motdmag.com. In total these sites receive around 5,370,000 visits per month providing a huge new marketing platform and audience for California Raisins. Visitors could then play our collection of ‘Summer of Sport’ games, including Archery, Swimming, Long Jump and Javelin.
During the one month campaign, California Raisins exceeded the initial target of over 680,000 page impressions and raised it to a massive 746,021.
From 21-25 March 2015, California Raisins exhibited at the UK’s largest trade food show, International Food Expo (IFE). This year featured a California superhero theme focussing on the numerous health attributes of California Raisins. The booth was voted among the most attractive at the entire show by attendees and many visitors were photographed on the stand ‘posing’ as superheroes. Over 29,000 attendees from 57 countries visited IFE 2015 and 1,350 companies exhibited.
California Raisins received 56 good leads from UK and EU based manufacturers and bakeries.
The London Bread and Cake Company created 4 new products all containing California Raisins. Samples were handed out along with recipe information and Superhero comic books containing facts and information.
During the many face to face meetings held during the event one importer confirmed they managed shipments of 46,000MT of raisins, sultanas and currants in 2014, including a significant quantity from California.
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