David Shapley
The handover between the northern and southern hemisphere apple supply is not likely to spark any price wars, leading supplier Capespan has claimed.
The South African season is due to get under way next week with the arrival of the first Royal Gala.
Martin Dunnett, marketing manager for Capespan said it was unlikely to cause any problems as English Cox will be cleared by the end of March and this year volumes are light.
In previous years there have been European overlaps which can create a knock-on effect into the summer he said. "But this year, we expect everything to be broadly in balance."
Capespan, which represents some 60% of the South African apple crop, is forecasting up to 15% more Royal Gala, with around 300,000 cartons coming to the UK.
Goldens, one of the main varieties, will be available from the third week of March and around 100,000 cartons heavier ­ up from the million or so shipped last season.
However a major change is expected with Granny Smith. A substantially larger crop has meant smaller sized fruit, which sell well on the UK market, making it a prime target. As such Dunnett is forecasting around 1.2 million cartons into the UK.
He is also expecting to sell around 200,000 carton of Braeburn and similar numbers of Pink Lady in the seasonal gap between the end of the French crop and the start of New Zealand.
More significantly with increased plantings Pink Lady is forecast to rise to 500,000 within three years.
South African pears present a different picture, however.
The Williams crop which has already begun to arrive has been badly hit by both hail and frost in Ceres, one of the main production areas. Capespan's crop has dropped from 500,000 cartons to 300,000, of which 130,000 cartons will finish up in the UK.