A relative of the popular Jazz apple variety is being tipped as the next big thing in the fresh fruit market.

Envy, a bicoloured apple bred in New Zealand, has a rich, sweet flavour and high sugar content.

Although the variety has only appeared in experimental volumes in the UK, New Zealand growers are greatly increasing plantings and expect it to be available in commercial quantities by the 2011/12 season.

"We think the taste profile of Envy is quite distinctive and it'll have mass appeal," said Brian D'Ath, global variety development manager at producer Enza.

Meanwhile New Zealand's Plant & Food Research is close to bringing a number of other new varieties to market, including the Yunnan red pear.

The fruit, which is crisp and juicy, will become available to retailers around the world after an R&D agreement was signed between Chinese and New Zealand fruit scientists.