French look to who's the strongest French apple growers have embarked on a detailed study of apple consumption in the UK and some other European markets. The aim is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of different varieties and their price competitiveness. Information collated during the initial stages of the winter season by the French Apple Marketing Commission showed that the annual consumption of apples in Britain is still way behind the rest of Europe at 10kg/head, compared with France (16kg/head), Germany (23kg/head) and Belgium (25kg/head). Daniel Corbell, president of marketing umbrella Le Crunch ­ which represents most major French producers ­ has already warned: "No European grower is going to make money this season. Crops are bigger and globally prices are more competitive." Lower in store prices had nonetheless failed to attract extra sales, he added. While the political row over the beef ban had affected sales of French apples in the UK (The Grocer, December 4, p10), he said that the market had also been affected by a carryover of New Zealand fruit. "It could have been worse, because even during the crisis, 90% of French apples were sold bagged which gave them confidentiality," commented Corbell. He quashed the view that fruit would not store well this season. French growers, he explained, had managed to survive bad years by recouping in the good ones. To do this they had cut costs to the bone but could not be squeezed any further, he added. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}