Asda is on course to sell two million pumpkins this Halloween – 800,000 more than in 2015.
Owned by the biggest retailer in the world, Walmart, Asda has played an integral part in bringing Halloween to the UK, taking advantage of global insight to ensure it’s the market leader.
The traditional event has grown in popularity in recent years – with consumers taking a much more American approach to the event. This is undoubtedly true as Asda has increased its product range by more than a third (32%) in the last six years and pumpkins are enjoying a 73% year on year growth in 2016.
Halloween launched in store five weeks ago, but for the pumpkin growers the preparation started back in January with IPL, Asda’s exclusive sourcing and importing arm, confirming it was going for a record year.
It tasked its four growers, in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Kent, to produce two million pumpkins.
Derek Lawlor, Vice President of Fresh, at Asda, said: “We have had an excellent harvest this year, the weather has been kind, which has helped enormously, and we have worked directly with the growers to ensure they understood our requirements and what we wanted to achieve.
“For us, appearance, quality and price are our top priorities. We know our customers expect a classic look so we have been working hard to ensure this is what we deliver. Our pumpkins are selected for their colour and size, and with a thinner wall they are easier to carve which is also an important factor.
“The price point is also vital and we have invested in our products to guarantee we have a market leading price – our medium pumpkin is on offer for 50p while our large pumpkin is £1. We haven’t been beaten on price this year and our product looks fantastic.”
The growing process is very hands on with pumpkin seeds destined for Asda stores being planted in May. The fields were hand weeded to keep the growing conditions at the ideal level and once ready, the pumpkin was hand cut from the plant and the important curing process began. The pumpkins were then manually loaded into bins, before transported to be hand washed, labelled and stored ready to be distributed.
Derek added: “Pumpkins sales have been really strong this year, customer feedback has been hugely positive, and as Halloween weekend approaches, we are confident we are going to hit our target of selling two million pumpkins in 2016.”