An early fruiting strawberry, which produces fruit a week earlier than leading variety Elsanta, could be ­on-shelf by next year.

Vibrant to be launched to growers at Fruit Focus next month is the earliest-maturing variety to have been bred by East Malling Research Centre and will be one of the earliest on the market.

It had been ­'accepted' by Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda, said licensor Meiosis, so was likely to be stocked by them when it became commercially available.

"Vibrant should be of interest because at the beginning of the season everyone's crying out for English fruit," said Sarah Troop, ­trials officer at Meiosis.

Two other varieties will also be launched at the show. Cupid, which has been accepted by Asda, is particularly resistant to disease. Sweetheart accepted by Asda and The Co-op Group produces "a very nice shape", said Troop.