English apples have had an extra boost at Marks & Spencer with an illuminated shelf barker featuring a film strip now playing an educational role for our industry.

It leads the customer through growing, harvesting and quality checks to provide the answer to the question: “What makes an M&S apple a Perfect Pick?” This trademarked brand is being used exclusively at the premium retailer and is registered to Worldwide Fruit.

Other snippets of information stress that the fruit is from specially selected orchards and growers under the “perfect flavour starts with understanding ripeness” banner, who are said to “have the knowledge and experience to assess condition”.

On the organic apple front, Washington Pink Lady tray packs at £2.49 for four are being highlighted with the opportunity, up until 11 March, to win one of 10 trips to the US as part of a Fitness First membership. An apples and pears recipe booklet makes for an extra incentive to enter.

Grower brands of potatoes, with the obvious exception of Rooster, are virtually unknown, but the wheels may be turning in that direction as Sainsbury’s is now stocking a 2kg pack of a variety surprisingly called Jelly. Sold under the brand GreenVale - the home of Farm Fresh potatoes, the potatoes are grown in Shropshire and sold for £1.79.

As squash, led by the butternut variety, becomes available year round, Asda seems intent on developing the public’s taste. Initially, kabocha was simply labelled as such, but there is now a green variety coming forward from Argentina priced at £1.85/kg.

With the improvement in temperatures, more brassicas are coming forward and Tesco is doing everything to dispel the bitter image that sprouts have acquired. Pre-packed buttons at £1.50 for 250g are also available ready peeled, with the news that they comprise selected varieties grown for a milder flavour.

Meanwhile, more and more variations on fresh cut are also appearing, with a new 400g pack at M&S for £2.99. Individual portions of watermelon, melon, papaya, mango and coconut come together as Truly Tropical five fruits.