Morrisons plans to give lovers of English apples a sweetener by extending the season until May next year – two months longer than usual.
The Bradford-based supermarket group has decided to extend the selling season in response to patriotic customers and a forecast of a very strong apple harvest.
National feedback from about a thousand customers questioned two weeks ago found 95% of shoppers wanted to support British produce growers.
The survey also found 75% bought English apples where they could, 83% liked English apples, 92% thought shorter transportation resulted in a fresher product and 62% believed English apples were more flavoursome.
Morrisons expects to sell up to 10% more English apples this year as a consequence and it will stock more than 25 English apple varieties sourced from orchards in the key growing areas of Hereford, Kent, Suffolk and Worcester.
It is ordering Royal Gala and Braeburn, two of the UK’s most popular English apples, along with more traditional varieties such as Cox, Russet and Bramley to extend the English season.
The group is working with English apple growers to create what it says will be the perfect storage conditions to achieve its objective, storing the fruit at an optimum storage condition of between -1˚C and 1˚C, 90%-95% humidity and 99% darkness to give the best eating quality.
“This move will reduce our dependency on imports, give British growers a bigger market and secure the future of the British apple crop,” said Morrisons produce director Drew Kirk.