It is shaping up to be a bumper year for British apples, as supermarkets report the fruit is flying off the shelves.

Asda claimed it was the first of the multiples to offer English apples from this year's harvest by getting Cox's on the shelves in mid-September.

Despite growers' slightly lower yields on some core varieties such as Cox, the store reckons sales are up 20% on last year already.

Asda has been followed closely by Sainsbury's, which is trying to grab the limelight with hefty price-cutting. It is offering one third off when shoppers buy two packs of apples or pears, which brings two bags of seven Cox apples to £2, the same as for Conference pears, while four-packs of Bramleys are being offered in a two for £3 deal.

It has also rolled out a new logo to draw shoppers' attention to the seasonality of the fruit. The strapline 'British and in season' has cropped up around the top fruit fixture, as well as the online store. A spokeswoman said Sainsbury's aimed to sell more than any other retailer this season, even though it has only half the market share of Tesco.

She said: "We are committed to supporting English growers and encouraging our customers to try the freshest, tastiest apples this country has to offer."

It is aiming to better the 900 tonnes of fruit sold in last year's campaign.

Tesco is also majoring on the fruit. As well as the usual shelf information, it has put in additional point-of-sale material to support the crop. It is already reaping rewards, according a spokeswoman, with sales one third up on last year.

"During English apple season it is always our priority to stock UK fruit over imported. We are already stocking Cox, Worcester, Early Windsor, Spartan and Bramley," she said.

This year, Tesco's Kent stores will sell 150 heritage varieties through its sponsorship of the Brogdale Horticultural Trust.