M&S praises exclusive New Zealand variety Marks and Spencer is selling an exclusive New Zealand apple called Sonya for the first time. The variety was first discovered by the multiple in Otago region on South Island and was bred privately outside the national fruit development programme. M&S fruit technologist Duncan Macintyre said Sonya is a Gala/Red Delicious hybrid with a rough skin. The colour means it is similar to Pink Lady but has a more traditional taste. Last year M&S undertook taste testings at several of the major agricultural shows where it exhibits. "Consumers confirmed our own view that it was exceptional," Macintyre added. "This is the first season that commercial quantities have been available." Fruit, tray packed in fours, is priced at £1.79. This is the third apple the chain has launched over the last 12 months. New Zealand Moonglo, which looks like a blushed Golden, is on sale at £1.49 for four for a second year. Orin, which originated and was first imported from Japan in the winter, has made a transition to New Zealand to provide ongoing summer continuity. At present, similarly packed, it is on special offer at 99p. Not to be outdone, Pomanjou, one of France's largest apple cooperatives, is to launch Honey Crisp at SIAL following taste tests across Europe. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}