Growers have sold more early maturing fruit early French apple imports to UK back to normal level Apple exports to the UK are back on course following a downturn last season when a national consumer backlash affected sales, said Jacques Vanoye, president of the French Apple Marketing Committee. He was visiting the UK this week to launch the next stage of the Le Crunch brand sponsorship programme targeting 50 London primary schools over the next five weeks. While the objective is to help foster creative talent among children, and provide teachers with notes and posters, it will also draw attention to the range of French varieties ­ Golden Delicious, Gala, Braeburn, Granny Smith and French Reds ­ exported to the UK. Vanoye said: "Initial feedback has shown the London roadshows to be 300% oversubscribed, and the programme will be supported by promotional activities in major multiples.'' He said French apple stocks at January 1 were 86,000 tonnes less than last year. Growers had sold more early maturing fruit early, so that he believes that keeping quality for the remainder of the crop will be unimpaired. "The structure of the French industry is changing," he added. "The volume of Goldens grown has dropped and stabilised at around 50% of the crop, and there is less interest in red varieties. "More Gala continues to be planted as it has become popular in Far and Middle East markets, although interest in Braeburn is still mainly confined to Europe." Vanoye recently attended the first meeting of the newly created World Apple and Pear Association and was heartened by the positive response to find collective ways to increase consumption. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}