Efforts to carve out a premium for South African Golden Delicious apples have been undermined by a poor crop, according to major importer Capespan.

The grower launched a media campaign this season aimed at promoting its Cape apples on London's radio stations and in women's magazines.

But Martin Dunnett, trading director, admitted it had not really worked, although awareness of the product had increased.

"It has not been a fair test of the campaign," he said.

"Availability has been partly to blame, after a storm in February damaged the crop and led to a 15-20% shortfall in supplies. But prices have generally been good - partly because of the campaign and partly because of the shortfall, which has also affected French growers.

"It remains the right thing to be doing. We are able to differentiate our product because it's grown in extremely favourable conditions."