An enthusiastic response to a series of tasting sessions and months of market research has encouraged the Scottish Honeyberry Project to press ahead with plans to produce a commercial product.
A meeting of the Scottish Society for Crop Research in Dundee heard that local production of the novel crop has now reached a stage where it needs to have a market presence.
A co-operative with 10 producers is already growing around 100 acres of the crop and according to James Hutton Institute (JHI) researcher Louise Gamble, who is co-ordinating an Innovate UK-funded project, at least five more farmers are keen to join.
“The original plan was to contain the co-operative to 10 growers but there has been a lot of interest in the last year and the group is considering expanding the membership,” she said.
“All our market research and tastings have shown that consumers are really enthusiastic about honeyberries even though they’d never heard of them before, so the key thing now is to have a presence in the market to show consumers what’s there and build on the current interest in healthy eating."
The £180,000 Innovate UK project, which combines research into the crop and developing market opportunities, began last year and runs to February 2022.