Some top fruit being harvested now is so large that it will fall outside the EU’s Grade I classification and will not be marketed, according to Adrian Barlow, chief executive of English Apples and Pears.
Varieties affected include English dessert top fruit such as Cox and Gala apples and Conference pears.
Barlow confirmed there would be less small fruit for prepacks. He said discussions were underway with multiples to get them to revise their specifications upwards.
There was also concern in the industry that fruit was ripening too fast, narrowing the window during which it can be picked at the right level of maturity.
Meanwhile, Dutch growers are developing apples that stay crisper and fresher during storage. Inova Fruit has launched six varieties: Autento, Junami, Wellant, Rubens, Kanzi and Greenstar. The latter two are expected to be available within two years. Ten percent of Dutch acreage will eventually be devoted to the six varieties.