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The Company was founded in 1463 and received a Royal Charter in 1605. The Company was a classical medieval guild governing trade and maintaining quality and inspection of fruit imported into the City. It was also responsible for training apprentices, caring for members and doing charitable works. The connection of the Company to the fruit trade had diminished by the late nineteenth century although it remained a City institution. In the latter twentieth century its connections to the trade were revitalised, diverting it from the course of becoming a purely charitable institution, as many other Livery Companies have done. It is known for its special recognition of individuals in the fruit industry and for its support of research and development concerned with the industry. Currently, over half the Livery is made up of industry representation.
There are many awards that the company actively promotes and maintains and these are under the responsibility of the Awards Council, founded in 1931 as a sub-committee to report directly to the Company's Court of Assistants on matters relating to fruit culture.
The Awards Council also makes an annual Presentation of Fruit to the Lord Mayor of London, organises the annual City Food Lecture in Guildhall (established in 2000) and awards Fruit Show Prizes at the Cherry and Soft Fruit Show and National Fruit Show, and, among other activities, supports scholarships and research.
The Company ranks forty-fifth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies. Its motto is Deus Dat Incrementum, Latin for God Gives the Increase