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English Apples: Late season crop ensures plentiful supply until May

English Apple growers have announced that their fears about the availability of English apples due to the poor weather have eased and from now until the end of May, plenty of English apples should be available.
 
Although the overall crop is lower due to the weather, the new ‘late season’ crop of varieties such as Cameo, Jazz, English Gala, Kanzi and Reubens are readily available. The first English Braeburn is also on sale now in the shops although the volume is down by 50% on 2011.
The price per kilo, has been rising to 18% higher than last year, but it has now stabilised and industry experts are confident it will not rise further during this season.
 
The turnaround in the fortunes of English apples is due to the ability of new ‘late season’ apples which can be stored for longer due to investment in improved stores and storage. Retailers have also helped the industry through the tough times of 2012 by taking account of the unavoidable weather marking due to the poor summer. This reduction in appearance specifications has allowed a greater proportion of the English crop to be  available for shoppers.
 
The nation’s favourite apple – English Gala – which has outsold Cox for several years now – has also thrived with sales up 25% in December as consumers seek out English grown fruit over foreign imports.
However, with food costs rising due to inflation, growers are very aware of the problems faced by many shoppers and the need to remain price competitive in order to prevent any reduction in consumption or loss of sales to imports.
 
Adrian Barlow, Chief Executive of English Apples and Pears Ltd said “The launch of the late season English apples represents a further development in the renaissance of the industry. This has been underpinned by increasing demand from shoppers with concerns about climate change and recognition of the superior taste of local supplies. The late apples, which are ready for eating from January through to May, are making a major contribution to the increase in market share of English apples and emphasise the importance of investment in new varieties and modern technology. Although the crop has been affected by 2012’s terrible weather conditions, the industry is in good shape to meet consumer demand from now until May.”
 
English apples are available in supermarkets from now until around May 2013 and shoppers should look for the union flag label.
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21 January 2013
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