Kent fruit grower signs £750 million deal with Aldi  - Fruit & Vine

Kent fruit grower signs £750 million deal with Aldi 

A family-owned Kent-based fruit farm has signed a new £750 million deal with Aldi, which will see a new 200-acre orchard being planted in the county. 

A family-owned Kent-based fruit farm, AC Goatham & Son, signed a new £750 million deal with Aldi, which will see Aldi Orchard being built.

AC Goatham & Son has supplied Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket with a variety of apples and pears since 2016. 

Last year, the company was announced as Aldi’s sole supplier of British apples. 

The new 20-year deal includes the introduction of the “Aldi Orchard”. The 200-acre plot on New Green Farm in Gravesend will grow a mix of Gala and Braeburn apples for Aldi stores across the country. 

The retailer said that this long-term deal will provide vital support for British farmers, assuring them of supply and helping to give them the security they need to grow and thrive. 

Big plans for the future 

The news comes as British Apples and Pears Limited (BAPL) named Aldi as the 2023 Apple Retailer of the Year and the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) awarded Aldi Fresh Produce Retailer of the Year 2023.

AC Goatham & Son, named Supermarket Fruit and Veg Supplier of the Year at the FPC Awards 2023, also has plans to plant an additional 100 acres per year of apple trees exclusively for Aldi. 

Founded in 1947 and run by Clive Goatham and his son Ross, the business supplies an estimated 250 million apples and pears to Aldi stores each year, more than five times the volume it initially supplied to the supermarket in 2016.  

The business has big plans for its future, including working with Aldi to extend the growing season with controlled atmosphere storage and working in partnership with the supermarket on its journey to net zero. 

Sustainability, viability and UK food security 

Ross Goatham, managing director of AC Goatham & Son, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and a real testament to the work both AC Goatham & Son and Aldi have put into the agreement to have created something truly collaborative, a first for the British top fruit sector.    

“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.” 

Investment in British farming 

Photo by AC Goatham & Son.

Julie Ashfield, managing director of buying at Aldi UK, said that the store is proud to be one of the largest buyers of British apples and of our partnership with AC Goatham & Son. 

“This new 20-year deal represents a £750 million investment in British farming and demonstrates our long-term commitment to championing British produce,” she added. 

Aldi was the largest buyer of British apples in 2023, according to BAPL, and is poised to repeat this feat in 2024. 

Confidence to invest 

NFU president Tom Bradshaw warmly welcomed the news. 

He said: “I’m very encouraged to see Aldi committing itself to a major UK supplier and hope this is a positive direction of travel for the supply chain in the future.  

“The NFU has been calling for more longer-term agreements with farmers and growers to help deliver sustainable returns and give them confidence to invest in their businesses. 

“The UK horticulture sector has huge potential, and the NFU’s Horticulture Growth Strategy sets out measures needed for growth and investment within the sector.” 

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