David Shapley
US eastern states apple growers predict exports to the UK will top the 720,000 cartons of mainly Empire and MacIntosh Red shipped last year.
Optimism is based on a new promotional initiative and the possible knock-on effect of some Washington State varieties being hit by frost. This week Neil Gordon, European director of the US Apple Export Council, discounted the fact the crop grown across some eight states was 16% lighter.
"Because these varieties were well established in the UK, it will be possible to capitalise on sales over the holiday period when quality red apples are in short supply," he said.
The fruit is already on sale in Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda,Safeway, Morrisons and Co-ops.
The new campaign will use stickers to identify varieties, particular Empire, and promotional activity will be linked to the 5--a Day programme post-Christmas as well as instore tastings.
There will also be a tour of local radio stations with a nutritionist explaining the value of the fruit.