Growers have hailed the third UK season of Cameo apples a resounding success.
This year saw volumes reach almost 350 tonnes, said Adrian Barlow, chief executive of English Apples and Pears.
“In the first year we had only about 50 tonnes to market, but last year that rose to 140 tonnes. Next year we’re aiming to double again to 700 tonnes.”
Barlow said this growth was being strictly controlled to ensure Cameo remained a premium product and levels
remained in line with demand.
This year will also see the first arrivals of imported Cameo, brought in and marketed by Richard Hochfield. “We have not had imported product before because we wanted to establish the UK product first,” said Barlow. “But we’ll be starting to see some imported product hitting the shelves soon.”
Cameo is gaining growing support from retailers as well, said Barlow, with listings increasing every year. “We have only wanted to sell it through retailers who were going to treat it as a premium product.”
The apple is now being sold in Budgens, Somerfield, the Co-operative Group, Tesco and also in Booths.
Barlow said the main barrier to get over was the appearance: “The outstanding feature is taste and we need to get that across, not have people judging it by its looks. The eating experience with Cameo is distinctive.”
Cameo also stores well and the apples flavour continues to improve once picked. “In fact, its important not to sell it too early.”
Now Barlow said he was keen to recruit more UK growers to the Cameo cause. “We want to capture the confidence of more growers in the UK. That would enable us to sell product for that much longer a period. The fact we’re selling it in just two months shows just how good a product it is.”
Ed Bedington