Shoppers are likely to benefit from a bumper cherry crop this summer as warm weather drives yields up and prices down.
Tesco has announced it will take excess produce from its suppliers, in line with an existing agreement, and begin selling large 1kg trays of cherries at a lower price per unit than usual.
“We want to support our British farmers and stop any cherries from going to waste on farms. So, to help our homegrown suppliers, Tesco has bought an extra 80 tonnes per week of British cherries to help growers use the bumper crop of fruit created,” the firm said.
It will sell the 1kg trays for £4 each, significantly less per unit than the £10 per kg rate of its usual 200g punnets and the usual £7.50 per kg rate of its 400g ones. Tesco said the offer would be available for eight weeks.
A spokeswoman said that Tesco has an agreement with suppliers to take crops from them throughout the year, meaning it is obliged to increase its orders when there is a bumper harvest. The extra stock is coming from Kent and Herefordshire.
“This is another example of Tesco working with our farmers and suppliers to give customers the best British fresh produce, at the best prices,” the company claimed.
It said it was keen to ensure that “no edible food goes to waste” and has also taken on greater supplies of raspberries, strawberries, carrots, cauliflowers, lettuce and celery in the last 12 months. It said the agreement meant that “everyone wins”.
It was not clear, however, whether the firm paid the same price per unit to suppliers for the excess stock as it normally would.
Vernon Mascarenhas, the sales director of the wholesaler First Choice produce, said that, in his experience, prices had remained stable from last year, meaning that wholesalers were able to benefit from increased orders.
He said that technological advancements and improvements in agricultural techniques had made British cherries cheaper and easier to harvest in recent years, adding: “The demand from the restaurants I supply, every year, it gets higher.”
He said that cherry prices had not risen in line with other fruits, meaning that wholesalers were “turning over more money” with increased orders, but not necessarily making more profits.