UK fruit supplier Mack has formed a new hybrid plum breeding and marketing joint venture with South African stonefruit grower Fruits Unlimited.
The Custom Plum Company will market a series of exclusive Zaiger Interspecific plums to the UK market, with full commercial volumes due to be ready by 2020. Some small volumes are already being supplied to a major UK retailer through the partnership, the company said.
Zaiger Interspecific plums are varieties that have been cross pollinated naturally with other stonefruits, such as apricots without any use of genetic modification.
They have a brix range of between 16 to 18, meaning they have a sweeter taste, compared to normal plums with a brix level of between 10 and 15.
The Zaiger breeding programme is currently the largest of its kind globally, with over 250,000 conventional crosses of different prunus species every single year, and created varieties such as Flavor King and Flavor Fall.
“With interspecifics we have more flexibility to breed stronger characteristics into the fruit which make varieties better both for growers and consumers. Brix level remains crucial with interspecific varieties,” a statement said.