Retailers are likely to face shortages of top fruit this season as apple and pear volumes across Europe are forecast to fall significantly.

Apple crop volumes in the 27 EU member states will be down 11% year-on-year to 9.8 million tonnes this season, according to figures from the World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA), ­announced at the Prognosfruit event last week in Kiev. "That reduced production will bring production and demand into balance," said Adrian Barlow, chief executive of industry body English Apples and Pears.

The fall in pear volumes is tipped to be even more acute, with WAPA predicting the EU 27 crop will fall 19% to 2.16 million tonnes. "We would expect this to result in a slight hardening in prices," said Barlow. The effect of shortages on pear prices would probably be more pronounced than for apples as that category has already experienced price increases since last year.