9 January 1998

Popular lines fill up added value niches

ADDED value markets are developing rapidly as supermarkets seek to boost sales.

Popular lines include Maris Peer baby new potatoes and Charlotte salad tubers. "They are about as near as you can get to convenience food," says Mr Newborough.

"Multiples have done an excellent job in expanding the market. It is those sort of niche markets where growers can really benefit."

Specifications are tight. Correct plant spacing, irrigation and agronomy must be maintained to ensure most tubers fall into the premium 20-35mm bracket, says Mr Baird.

Top quality pre-packs like Edward and Piper are not easy to grow either. "But they are worth £120-£140/t, so there are lots of opportunities for growers with the right soil type and equipment," says Mr Newborough.

Greenvale supplies up to 20 different lines to its customers, which include the big five retailers. Products include loose, over-wrapped, or bagged bakers, loose, punneted and bagged babies, premium varieties in two different bag sizes and value packs of whites in 2.5-10kg bags. &#42

Greenvale supplies up to 20 products from seven automated packing lines.