Bodensee region aims to build on progress made in niche markets Growers eye UK as they develop new varieties German apple growers along the shores of Lake Constance are looking to the UK as they develop new apple varieties to increase profitability and attract more multiple programmes. The intensely cultivated Bodensee region has a reputation for quality, and makes inroads in a niche market in the UK between December and March, supplementing fruit imported from other EU members which have stronger ties. Successful examples in the past have included Jonagold, Elstar, Cox, Braeburn and Gala, but newcomers in the years ahead will include Cameo Fuji and, as yet unrecognised in the UK, Pinova, Sonya (a trade branded NZ variety), Dalibel, Copaz and the promising Rubinette. Bred in Switzerland in 1966, Rubinette has already enjoyed some limited export success. The first grower, Heinz Martin, attracted the attention of importer Empire World Trade, which has sourced Tesco for the past three years ­ shipping fruit in bulk and prepacking in Spalding. Kurt Bettin, UK director CMA, the national food promotion organisation, believes these varieties will offer extra potential. "The Bodensee region accounts for about 70% of Germany's 5,000 tonnes of apple exports to the UK," he said. Apart from the varietal mix, there could be other opportunities. "German growers face far stricter controls on sprays and pesticides than many other EU contemporaries," said Peter Triloff, plant protection officer for the region's marketing organisation MAPO. "An apple growing programme for Marks and Spencer to eliminate organophosphates starts this year." {{FRESH PRODUCE }}