European production of Golden Delicious apples is declining as growers opt for newer varieties.

Volumes of Golden Delicious, which represent almost a quarter of EU apple production, are set to fall by 4% in the 2009/10 season to 2.4 million tonnes, according to the World Apple and Pear Association, which added that production of Gala and Granny Smith is expected to be static.

By contrast, production of one of the fastest-growing varieties, Cripps Pink much of which is marketed under the Pink Lady brand will reach 140,000 tonnes, up from just 26,000 tonnes when first planted in 2000.

Several new varieties have been released over the past few years and have found a place on supermarket shelves. Ariane, Belgica, Cameo, Diwa, Greenstar, Honey Crunch, Jazz, Junami, Kanzi, Rubens and Wellant are all making an impact at retail level across Europe, according to the WAPA.