There has been a huge surge in strawberry sales the past year, according to a Kantar survey just out. The figures were released for National Strawberry Week, which takes place until Sunday, 9th June. 

The survey found a 33 per cent increase in the retail value of strawberry sales to consumers in the 25-34 year old category in the past 12 months compared to the previous year, to reach €8m. Total retail sales of strawberries in Ireland are currently worth €51.7 million.

"The growth in consumption by this age group is important, as younger consumers tend to eat less fruit and vegetables than the 35s and over, which was a worrying trend for future sales. Strawberries are an increasingly popular choice among consumers as a tasty, low calorie, convenient snack," said Mike Neary, manager of Horticulture, Bord Bia.

National Strawberry Week, organised by the Irish Soft Fruit Growers Association (ISFGA) in conjunction with Bord Bia and the Irish Farmers Association, aims to encourage consumers to enjoy more strawberries as the summer season approaches and Irish crops are at peak production.

National Strawberry Week is a consumer information campaign that includes primary school activities and an interactive website that includes delicious seasonal recipe suggestions.

"Fresh fruit and vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet," said Gary McCarthy of the ISFGA. As with all fruit and vegetables, they are best consumed when they are in season, and the Best in Season promotion tells you when is the best time of year."

Pictured: David Keeling, Keelings; Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney; and Jane McCorkell, garden designer enjoying seasonal strawberries in the Gold Medal winning garden 'Love to Grow' at the recent Bloom in the Park festival.