Major orchard investment will help UK apple growers to a “great crop” this year, with more British apples becoming available to growers year-round, according to English Apples & Pears.
The trade body expects volumes to rise this coming season thanks to ongoing investment, new varieties, improved growing techniques and rising yields from younger orchards.
EAP’s executive chair Ali Capper said: “Throughout the last 10 years, the British apple industry has increased market share by 50 per cent, investing over £120 million in technology, research and development.
“At the same time, we’ve planted over eight million new trees to ensure we continue to grow more of the highest quality apples that shoppers want to buy and enjoy eating.”
The organisation has invested heavily in Britain’s Gala, Braeburn and Bramley apple orchards, as well as in new apple varieties such as Jazz, Kanzi, Opal and Cameo, opening up opportunities for more British apples to be available throughout the year.
“British shoppers want British produce,” added Capper. “Right now, just two out of every five fresh apples consumed in the UK are homegrown, but with this continued level of investment, we are confident that we can increase this to three in five by 2030, bringing the UK closer to apple self-sufficiency.”
She urged retail, foodservice and wholesale customers to support EAP’s stated growth strategy for 60 per cent of the apples on UK supermarket shelves to be British by 2030, as well as stressing the environmental benefits of favouring domestic topfruit.
“Our homegrown apples and pears have not been shipped across the world to get to us," she said. "Our farmers care for the local eco-system in and around their orchards, from attracting bees and pollinating insects, to irrigation and water recycling techniques that help to minimise wastage.“