Tesco sets target of 150m English apples

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Mike Knowles

BY MIKE KNOWLES

@mikefruitnet

Tesco sets target of 150m English apples

As the first home-grown fruit goes on sale, the retailer says it expects to achieve record sales of English apples this season

Tesco sets target of 150m English apples
Tesco's technical manager for apples John Worth, Tesco local sourcing manager Quentin Sandell and Norman Collett technical manager Peter Uren checking apple trees in Kent, UK

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UK retailer Tesco's senior fruit buyer David Croxson says the company is targeting record sales of English apples this season, with the number of individual apples sold expected to reach 150m.

The country's first domestically grown apples of the new season have gone on sale at a branch of Tesco in the south-eastern region of Kent this week.

Recent hot weather has reportedly provided the county's apple growers with an "almost perfect" combination of warm days and cold nights over the past few months, enabling topfruit marketing company Norman Collett Ltd to win the so-called 'apple run' by supplying a high-quality crop of the Discovery variety.

The apples went on sale at Tesco’s Pembury store near the town of Tonbridge on Tuesday morning, earlier than at any other supermarket, the company said.

Mr Croxson, who has assumed responsibility for the topfruit category following the recent departure of Martin de la Fuente, confirmed that a good amount of rainfall in May and June had combined with normal summer tempeartures and last week's heatwave to create firm, juicy and crisp apples.

"To most people the British summer so far may have seemed a damp squib but it has resulted in a very good growing conditions for Discovery – traditionally the first apples of the season," he said. “As a result, Kent residents are the envy of the nation as they will be the first to get their hands on these apples."

He added: “Tesco is committed to increasing the amount of English grown apples it sells this year and we’re hoping to reach record sales of 150m apples.”

The English apple industry produces around 1.6bn apples each year, with harvesting taking place from the end of July through until mid-October.

Tesco’s Kent-based growers are expected to send out collectively an estimated 2m Discovery apples over the next four weeks. This will be followed by the arrival of Worcester and early Windsors in late August.

They are also set to provide top quality Gala, Egremont Russet, Braeburn, Cameo and Cox apples this season, plus Conference and Comice pears.

Norman Collett Ltd has been supplying apples and pears to Tesco for 20 years. The group's growers are all based in Kent and represent 23 per cent of total topfruit production in the UK.

The company says the quality of its fruit is looking exceptional this season and strong sales are expected as customers begin to source UK apples and pears again.

"There is tremendous support for locally grown apples and pears as customers become concerned about where the fruit they eat is grown and how far it has travelled," said a spokesman.

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  • why are there no DISCOVERY apples for sale in your Bournemouth stores?

    John Nicholl

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