Tyfu Cymru News Round-up
1st April – 7th April 2019
On the week that began with #AprilFoolsDay, did you spot or fall for any jokes? McDonald's certainly left some fans disappointed with its April Fools' Day when it claimed it was getting ready to release a new burger - The McPickle. The company's Australian social media accounts posted a short video of the new burger, a Big Mac style but with piles of gherkins instead of meat! But this is no joke…we bring you our favourite horticulture news from the week!
Mother’s Day brings sales…
What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than a fresh bunch of flowers (especially British grown flowers!) Reports this week highlight a boost in sales at garden centres this March, with some experiencing exceptional sales around Mother’s Day. The sun shone for much of the country for much of the weekend, in contrast to Mother's Day in 2018, which was 20 days earlier and came amidst storms in one of the worst March sales months for years.
John Lewis also said sales of Mother’s Day gifts were up 39.5%, with particularly strong demand for gift food products and Little Botanicals plants. Waitrose said Mother's Day flowers were up 10% compared to the equivalent week last year.
Garden centres, and growers alike should maximise promotion of calendar events to drive awareness and sales. There are many dates celebrated across the country, as well as horticulture themed national marketing campaigns and celebration days which can be used as social media content to reach new audiences. P.s it was #internationalcarrotday this week!
Tech Advances inspiring the next generation of growers...
Leading firms say the rise of automation, robotics, AI and big data is creating opportunities to welcome the brightest young minds into the horticulture industry. Recipe box scheme Hello Fresh stressed that it needs people who know how to analyse and use data. “Companies like ours – that use a lot of data to make decisions – need people, not just in data roles but in all roles, to be able to analyse and use data”. To attract talent, fresh produce firms need to make young graduates aware not only of the more technical roles that are available, but also of their companies’ very existence.
This seems more relevant than ever, as it was also announced this week that a "Commercially viable" apple harvesting robot is trialled in New Zealand. New Zealand's largest fresh produce supplier says it has successfully tested a robotic apple harvester in a commercial orchard, in what it describes as a world first.
Personalised nutrition is also widely tipped to be one of the next big consumer trends, with technology such as DNA kits providing consumers with information on food types best suited for their health. App-based and “algorithmic” shopping is expected in the future. Algorithms could decide what we eat, just like Spotify decides what music we should listen to!
Helping to raise awareness of the farming industry amongst children is a great new scheme founded by farmer Tom Martin, co-ordinated by LEAF, and sponsored by Sainsbury’s and Strutt & Parker, ‘FaceTime a Farmer’ pairs farmers with classes for a series of video calls throughout the year. With nearly 150 school and farmer pairings already, 100% of farmer and student/teacher participants enjoyed the calls, said LEAF.
Application window for the Farm Business Grant opens...
The Farm Business Grant is a Capital grant scheme available to farmers across Wales. The FBG covers capital investments in equipment and machinery that have been preidentified as offering clear and quantifiable benefits to your farm enterprise. The capital items have been specified along with a standardised cost. The grant, open also to horticultural growers in Wales, covers capital investments in equipment and machinery to enable crop management, resource and energy efficiency and ICT.
The fight against plastic pollution… With many news reports over the last few weeks of various supermarkets beginning trials on removing plastic packaging from its fresh produce, Kantar have now announced that loose fruit and veg sales are growing at double rate of plastic-packed. According to Kantar, twenty one per cent of fruit, veg and salad was sold loose over the past 12 weeks, with sales growing twice as quickly than with packaged produce.
It was also announced this week that a Dutch nursery has unveiled a zero-plastic flowering plant product aimed at the garden retail market. Friendlies’ are flower pots made from paper that are planted straight into the ground, pot and all. The key component is the ‘friendly’ degradable paper. A UK firm also launched the ‘world’s first plastic free glitter’. It has been created for the cosmetic sector but is suitable for coatings and applications in the horticultural and floricultural industries.
We would also like to congratulate Anglesey on becoming the first county in the UK to be awarded 'plastic free' community status!
Did you know this week we celebrated #InternationalCarrotDay? We enjoyed seeing lots of carrot facts and posts on social media. So, to end this weeks update we share 5 of our most enjoyed Carrot facts.
- People first grew carrots as medicine, not food.
- Carrots can be traced back about 5,000 years through historical documents and paintings. No one knows exactly when the first carrots appeared, because many people mistook them for parsnips.
- They are an excellent source of vitamin A, providing more than 200% of your daily requirement in just one carrot. Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, a natural chemical that the body changes into vitamin A. The deeper orange the carrot, the more beta-carotene you’re getting.
- The human body turns beta-carotene into vitamin A and carrots are one of the best sources for beta-carotene. Vitamin A is important for the health of our vision (including our night vision) as well as our bones, teeth and skin. So maybe they do help us see in the dark after all?
- Cooking carrots is better for you than eating raw carrots. Cooking releases the hidden pockets of good-for-you beta-carotene. In fact, eating carrots raw only gives you three percent of this substance, but when you heat them up they release closer to 40 percent.