Substantial increases in the Washington apple crop, and near-normal volumes from the Eastern states, which also export to the UK, indicate plenty of fruit this coming season.
US Apple Association figures foreast the overall national crop covering all varieties reaching 221.5 million 42lb carton equivalents.
Washington, which dominates the market, is set to rise 16% compared with last year, bringing it back into line with its five-year average of 123.8 million cartons.
George Smith, UK promotions director for the Washington Apple Commission, is expecting UK imports to continue to rise, which this year with the season still running are hovering below
the million carton mark. A key element will be the amount of Pink Lady, which is picked late, and this year accounted for around a third of UK imports.
Together with organic apples including Gala and Braeburn which contribute a similar percentage, the export programme originally reliant on Red Delicious has changed shape considerably in a decade.
Neil Gordon, UK representative of the US Apple Export Council, which covers seven of the other states where there is substantial product, said: “We anticipate good quality McIntosh and Empire being shipped and are planning instore promotions with all the major English and Irish retailers.”
Planting in the US of these two and Golden Delicious has stabilised or even fallen.
Red Delicious continues to be the largest single variety at nearly 61 million cartons and there is continuing evidence of a widening range.
Over the past five years, Gala has risen from 14 million to 23 million cartons and Fuji from 16 million to 20 million.
However, Smith admitted increasing oil prices could increase shipping costs, making fruit more expensive.
David Shapley