When it comes to the popularity of soft fruit, strawberries and blueberries often get the most attention from consumers. But increasingly, Britons are adding another to their mix of purchases.
Blackberries have become a £51 million spend for shoppers, according to data from British Summer Fruits, including a steady increase over the past 12 months.
“The blackberry industry has grown 8% this year. Looking at our’ past data and current industry insights, we are predicting a boom in blackberry popularity amongst Brits in the coming years,” said Nick Marston, chairman of British Summer Fruits. “This forecast, if correct, will continue to boost the wider berry industry which is already worth £1.7 billion to the British economy. This can be attributed to the huge difference in quality between shop bought vs hedgerow-foraged blackberries – testament to the hard-work, innovation and modernisation of our British growers.”
Available until the frosts take hold in November, a wide range of blackberries are offered in the UK, including Chester, Driscoll’s Carmel, Driscoll’s Cowles, Loch Ness, Loch Tay, Karaka Black and Obsidia.
Aside from variety and flavour, there is another reason consumers are turning to them.
“The health benefits of blackberries are becoming better documented – which is helping to boost the berries’ popularity still further,” Marston said.
British Summer Fruits members help comprise and deliver 95% of all UK-grown berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries) that show up at the retail level. Love Fresh Berries is one of them and notes on its website the myriad benefits including antioxidant properties that should be promoted by retailers:
- High amounts of salicylic acid which is great for your skin
- Astringent tannins that are great for oral hygiene
- Some provide half an adult’s RDA of manganese, necessary for bone development and nutrient absorption
- A wide range of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, potassium and magnesium as well as fibre and other plant nutrients that have numerous health benefits. These include flavonoids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. They also give blackberries their deep purple colour.