Testing partners gather in Spain to asses climate-tolerant apple and pear varieties

Apple and pear growers from across the world recently travelled to the IRTA Fruit Centre in Lleida, Spain, to evaluate varieties emerging from the Hot Climate Programme (HCP).

The HOT84A1 apple variety was one of several new hot climate varieties evaluated in the sessions

Image: T&G Global

The event was organised by the partners behind the HCP ­– Plant & Food Research, Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), Fruit Futur, and T&G Global subsidiary VentureFruit.

New and existing testing partners from 13 countries and more than 35 fresh produce companies gave a “strong validation” of the global focus and demand for resilient pipfruit varieties, according to a VentureFruit media release.

“Varieties evaluated were those closest to commercialisation opportunity – advanced selections that have both grower benefits through harvest dates, improved packouts of marketable fruit, reduction in waste and harvest costs and consumer expectations of a consistently great eating experience,” the media release said.

The HCP partners follow a two-fold evaluation process when assessing new varietals, taking into consideration grower needs and consumer preferences.

“For growers, it’s assessing the new varietals for superior hot climate performance and resilience (in comparison to traditional varietals), ensuring the trees produce high quality fruit to meet production, supply and market requirements,” the media release said.

“For consumers, it’s satisfying expectations at point of purchase as well as the eating experience, ensuring the fruit has consistency in appearance, taste and texture.”

Across both apples and pears, suitable varieties continue to be identified and added to the the HCP’s development pipeline.

“VentureFruit invests extensively in consumer research in key markets globally to understand consumers perception of sensory attributes relative to benchmarks, to explore product and brand positioning and to inform future breeding objectives,” said Kate James, business development manager at VentureFruit. “By doing this we optimise the value proposition of each variety and of the programme as a whole.”

The media release said an “exciting announcement” about the new apple variety HOT84A1 will be made at Fruit Logistica in Berlin in February 2023.

The evaluation sessions were attended by representatives from 13 countries and more than 35 fresh produce companies

Image: T&G Global