The English apple industry has received a fillip after new research suggested the overwhelming majority of shoppers seek out home-grown fruit.
The research, carried out by English Apples & Pears (EAP), showed that of those consumers who expressed a preference, 89 per cent would choose British apples whenever they are on sale.
The results come during a troublesome few months for the sector, with frosts earlier in the year having suppressed volumes by up to 20 per cent.
“This [survey result] is a huge vote of confidence for British growers,” said Steven Munday, chief executive of EAP. “As Brexit beckons, it appears shoppers here are actively supporting British produce and, in particular, that they are looking for British apples in the shops.”
Munday believes the potential impact of Brexit on imported food could offer a further boost to the domestic production industry. “There is little doubt that we are at a tipping point and there is a huge opportunity for British growers both this year and for many years to come,” he added.
To tap into rising demand for British apples, growers will be launching their first Great British Apples marketing campaign next month, as well as unveiling a new logo that will appear on millions of apples and packs nationwide.
Activity will include a high-profile campaign for the first Great British Apples Day on 19 October, a pop-up apple store in the heart of London, and an in-store campaign with leading retailers.
“Our apples are obviously from Great Britain, but they are also great quality, so our new campaign will be reinforcing this message,” said Munday. “We’re working with the major retailers to support the country’s apple growers by using our logo on pack and at point of sale. In our survey, better display and identification of apples as British in the shops were also key concerns for consumers, who said they would buy more apples if they could easily see that they come from Britain.”