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Sweet on Poland, Uren says business berry, berry good.

Sweet on Poland, Uren Says Business Berry, Berry Good

One doesn't have to look too far to see that the use of berries and exotic fruits in frozen and chilled products is on the rise. From raspberry party pavlova desserts to blueberry ice cream and yogurt, it seems that manufacturers (and, more importantly, consumers) are just wild about berries. And that's just peachy keen with H.J. Uren & Sons, the Merseyside-head-quartered industrial supplier of deep frozen fruits, purees, pulps and concentrates.

Turnover was 10.5 million [pounds] at its UK operation last year, reflecting a 1.3 million [pounds] advance over 1988 receipts. "That's not bad for an 11-person team," said Director Edward C. Stokes. "And there's a lot more potential on the frozen side, which represents 99% of our business."

Indeed, AGB figures show that the retail British frozen fruit market has climbed 59% in volume over the past year, going to 228 tons. And this is strictly retail packs of actual fruit, mind you, which is just a fraction of the fruit that it used in the large further-processing segment.

With sister companies in Scotland (Clova Fruits Ltd.), Denmark (Andybaer A.P.S.) and the United States (Uren USA Inc.), the operation specializes in growing, processing and distributing fruit worldwide. Sourcing from points as far afield as Yugoslavia, Chile and New Zealand, its range runs the gamut from blackberries and gooseberries to kiwis and cherries. Its Scottish farm alone annually turns out 1,500 tons of raspberries and processes another 2,000 tons of strawberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and a variety of IQF tropical fruits.

Only recently Uren opened an office in Poland and invested 250,000[pounds] to boost strawberry production. Already sourcing some 2,000 tons a year there, it plans to lease land to raise crops the Western way. This should eliminate quality control problems that in the past have required double sorting to rid raw materials of extraneous wood and other undesired debris.

Not surprisingly, strawberries rank No. 1 in sales as more than 3,000 tons are moved annually. Raspberries come in a close second, followed by three cherry varieties and blackcurrants. Customers include most of the major UK processors as well as yogurt makers. Chief export markets are the USA, France, Holland, Belgium and Scandinavia.

Stokes voiced optimism about the future, despite what was described as a "monkeywrench thrown into the works by the EEC." He elaborated: "At the behest of the poor farmers, but without consulting the industry, Brussels has imposed minimum import pricing on strawberries and raspberries to protect home producers."

PHOTO : Edward C. Stokes, director of H.J. Uren & Sons, tells QFFI that the company's recent investment in Poland will insure that strawberries are "raised the Western way."
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Title Annotation:H.J. Uren and Sons
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Previous Article:BFFF's Alf Carr: soft numbers temporary in QFF market with nowhere to go but up.
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