A bumper crop of British raspberries is appearing on supermarket shelves after June’s heat delayed their arrival.
Peak production of the berry began this week, later than usual after the hottest June on record, industry group British Berry Growers said.
Raspberries are historically a forest plant which thrive in warm and shady environments. They benefit from consistent temperatures and partial cloud cover, which was lacking in June, to ripen.
A return to average temperatures and mixed spells forecast throughout July has created ideal conditions for the fruit to steadily ripen, creating particularly large and juicy raspberries.
Increasing temperatures have led agronomists to develop robust raspberry varieties to withstand higher temperatures.
Breeding experiments between raspberry varieties from places such as the Mediterranean and California are underway to create new crops that can thrive in Britain if temperatures continue to warm, British Berry Growers said.
The berry industry is now worth £1.7 billion in retail sales year-round and is estimated to contribute £3.18 billion to the UK economy over the next five years.
Fresh berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries – continue to be the most popular fruit item in shoppers’ baskets, making up 28% of all fruit sold in the UK, according to analysts Kantar.
Nick Marston, chairman of British Berry Growers, which represents 95% of berries supplied to UK supermarkets, said: “A break in record hot June weather has given way to warm conditions under partial cloud cover – ideal for the gradual ripening of raspberries.
“This enables the fruit to grow particularly large and juicy with bumper crops forecast throughout July.
“Raspberries continue to be a favourite among Brits and their versatility makes them a staple in many households.
“Advanced cultivation techniques means that British raspberries should available on supermarket shelves well into November and even maybe December.
“That’s brilliant news for consumers, local farmers and the UK economy.”