Sainsbury and Waitrose will have a head start over rival multiples when it comes to stocking new organic English apple varieties, according to English Apples & Pears chief executive Adrian Barlow.
Barlow said the retailers would soon begin to benefit from the financial support they had given to a five-year project looking at organic apple production, which is set to conclude this spring.
The initiative is one of a series of sector programmes drawing on scientific research and growers’ practical expertise. Barlow said: “The aim is to boost the UK’s share of a total £200m market beyond its current 9%.”
The research programme had first identified 127 possible varieties, but these had been whittled down to six.
The varieties will be kept secret until late summer, and may be renamed to make them sound more attractive to consumers. “This will mean that these retailers will have the opportunity to develop ahead of the market,” said Barlow.