Lilibet, an early bicoloured variety developed by Italian group CIV, is described as easy to grow, excellent in terms of shelf-life, and great to eat

CIVM35 Lilbet apple Piedmont

Lilibet can be harvested earlier than Gala

Italian company Sanifrutta says it sees excellent commercial opportunities for Lilibet, a newly unveiled apple variety for which it holds an exclusive, countrywide licence.

The Piedmont-based supplier recently signed an agreement with breeding and IP group Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti (CIV) to launch a protected marketing programme for the brand in Italy.

Known during its early development as CIVM35, the variety is a bicoloured, early-season apple which ripens five days before the widely grown variety Gala.

According to Sanifrutta CEO Eraldo Barale, the fruit’s bright red colouring and its sweet, crunchy and juicy pulp are set to make it popular with consumers, while retailers will appreciate its “excellent” shelf-life and storage potential.

“This variety performs very well from a taste point of view and is particularly attractive, with a great advantage that it enters the apple market earlier,” he comments.

Alex Tallone, the company’s technical manager, believes Lilibet’s resistance to scab and overall production performance makes it a “perfect choice” for growers looking for a more resilient, sustainable option that is easy to grow.

“The challenges for apple growers right now are to do with environmental and weather conditions linked to climate change,” he explains. “Lilibet has several characteristics that make it suitable for these agricultural challenges.”

He adds: “Piedmont is ideal for these apples because it brings out their bright red overcolour.”

Eraldo Barale Sanifrutta Federico Stanzani CIV Alberto Boschero Sanifrutta Lilbet

Pictured (l-r): Eraldo Barale, Federico Stanzani, and Sanifrutta agronomist Alberto Boschero

CIV sales director Federico Stanzani says he welcomes the chance to take the project forward.

“The partnership with Sanifrutta was born from the idea of developing a project capable of bringing tangible innovation to the apple sector. Lilibet immediately proved to be the right apple for this purpose and allowed us to do something far-reaching in the Italian panorama, thanks to the skills of CIV, its members and Sanifrutta.”

“We are happy,” he concludes, “to be able to share the beginning of this partnership and of a relationship with strong synergy, which will allow both companies to reach exciting goals over the next few years.”