Worldwide Fruit, the UK’s largest English apple marketing group, said it would be able to offer its multiple customers a limited volume of residue-free apples from next autumn.
The company, which supplies Sainsbury, M&S and Waitrose, claimed successful trials by its technical arm Qualtech proved it was possible to eliminate post-harvest drenches. Drenching involves the application of a disinfectant that kills the spores which could cause mould.
Technical director Drew Reynolds said the move had been backed by the multiples as an extension of their own environmental schemes.
However, he warned the cost of the fruit could be higher because of the alternative treatment required. He said he would conduct a study of what consumers understand by ‘residue-free’ in order to develop a marketing approach.
Worldwide Fruit said it was also anticipating the arrival of residue-free apples from New Zealand, supplied through its partnership with Enza.