Friday 12th March 2010, 10:12 London
FirstFruits rolls out Opal apple campaign
Washington State-based marketing group unveils new variety, which is a cross between Golden Delicious and Topaz
Grower-owned collaborative marketing company FirstFruits Marketing and producer group Broetje Orchards have begun a major campaign to promote sales of Opal, a new Golden Delicious-Topaz cross apple variety grown in Washington State, in the north-west of the country.
The new medium-round variety, apparently recognised for its bright yellow colour with hints of orange blush as well as stem end russeting and resistance to oxidation after slicing, is being sold for the first time this month in the US and is grown exclusively by Ralph Broetje of Washington-based Broetje Orchards.
"We are proud to work with a high quality grower like Ralph Broetje and bring to market new varietals that will help drive category sales," commented Andy Tudor, marketing director at FirstFruits.
According to Mr Tudor, the apple offers crunchy texture and sweet flavour with sugar levels of 15-18° brix and has gained high marks in recent consumer taste tests.
"We believe that Opal is on trend with other varietals like Fuji, Gala and Honeycrisp that are showing strong consumer popularity and increasing consumer purchase patterns," he added.
The new marketing campaign refers to Opal as "a new American jewel" and will promote the apple to consumers over the next couple of months.
Available exclusively through FirstFruits, the fruit will be supplied from March to May, or while supplies last.
The Opal apple was discovered in Europe in 1999 and for the past ten years has been tested in 63 orchards throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.
In a recent survey of nearly 1,000 consumers, 89 per cent of respondents said they liked the taste of Opal and would buy it.
Additionally, the majority of those consumers ranked Opal crispier than the apples they currently bought and also said they preferred Opal's flavour.