Retail apple buyers are failing growers by continuing to make decisions on price alone, according to Ian Mitchell, of English Apples and Pears.

At an event in London to launch the English apple season, he said buyers were still being judged on their ability to buy cheaply, despite the genuine wish of store bosses to support sustainability in the English apple sector.

The pressure to strike cheaper deals often led to a downward spiral in prices, Mitchell claimed.

He said the time was right to speak out because this season was likely to be much better, putting growers in a position of relative strength. He predicted this would lead to better returns, based on excellent quality, in colour and taste, and reasonable yields.

He described last season, which saw orchards being grubbed up in France and New Zealand, as disastrous.

Mitchell added that growers should not be so quick to offer low prices.