As the first fruit begins to arrive in the UK coinciding with a three week Le Crunch campaign, French apple growers are confident they will be able to make a big impression on this market. Their 2.2 million tonne quality crop is in sharp comparison with major shortfalls being faced by other producers particularly in northern Europe. Henri Pluvinage, UK representative for the French Apple Marketing Committee, is setting great store on the fact 70% of the fruit is grown under the PFI Charter, a French integrated crop management scheme, designed to reduce pesticides and be ecologically supportive. "We have sufficient volumes of very good quality apples this year to ensure a successful season. We are working with a range of promotional partners to ensure Le Crunch remains one of the key top fruit brands. "Golden Delicious is still the most widely grown apple in France, but volumes are now stable," he explained. Granny Smith is 5% up to 255,000 tonnes and Gala ­ where the French are making a specific promotional push early in the season ­ by 14% to 285,000 tonnes. Braeburn continues to rise, up 13% to 153,000 tonnes, although Idared, Elstar, Red Delicious and Jonagold are on the decrease. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}