UK – Aldi has signed a substantial GBP 750 million (USD 952.5 million) deal with AC Goatham & Son, a family-run fruit farm in Kent, UK, marking a significant boost for British apple farming.

The 20-year agreement includes the creation of the ‘Aldi Orchard,’ a 200-acre plot at New Green Farm in Gravesend, dedicated to growing gala and braeburn apples for Aldi stores across the UK.

Since 2016, AC Goatham has supplied Aldi with apples and pears, evolving into Aldi’s sole supplier of British apples.

This long-term commitment provides substantial support to UK farmers, ensuring their supplies and offering job security.

The farm plans to plant an additional 100 acres of apple trees each year exclusively for Aldi, a significant expansion from the 250 million apples and pears they currently supply annually.

“This is a fantastic achievement and a real testament to the work both AC Goatham and Aldi have put into the agreement,” said Ross Goatham, Managing Director of AC Goatham & Son.

“This gives us the confidence now to invest for the future and to grow more British apples and pears for Aldi, guaranteeing sustainability, viability, and most importantly UK food security.”

A key part of the agreement is the introduction of controlled atmosphere storage to extend the growing season. This initiative is set to enhance the availability of British apples throughout the year, reducing reliance on imports and bolstering local produce availability.

Aldi’s commitment to British farming extends beyond apples. Earlier this year, Aldi launched a ‘Best of British’ online section, joining Morrisons in promoting UK-grown produce. This move came in response to calls from MPs and farmers to highlight British products more prominently.

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, stated, “Our ‘Best of British’ webpage aims to give our customers the chance to navigate British products more easily whilst supporting the thousands of local suppliers that we work with.”

“We are proud to champion so many British suppliers, and they are at the heart of our success, allowing us to offer our customers great British quality at the best possible prices.”

The webpage features a range of essentials such as fruit, eggs, meat, and dairy produce, making it easier for shoppers to identify and purchase British products.

Aldi’s efforts align with public sentiment, as 86% of the public expressed a desire to buy more British food, according to Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

Aldi’s actions have set a precedent in the supermarket sector, with the NFU president expressing hope that other supermarkets will follow suit.

The investment in AC Goatham & Son and the introduction of the ‘Best of British’ section demonstrate Aldi’s dedication to supporting local agriculture and promoting British produce.

Julie Ashfield emphasized Aldi’s role as a leading supporter of British farming: “This new 20-year deal represents a GBP 750 million investment in British farming and demonstrates our long-term commitment to championing British produce.”

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