The major multiples plan to allocate extra shelf space and signage in support of Bramley Apple Week, which runs from February 4-11.

On-pack recipes and an offer for a cookery booklet are among the promotional activities planned for the week.

This year's campaign is slanted towards eating out, to encourage consumers to get a taste for Bramley apple dishes and to try preparing dishes themselves.

Celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal have prepared recipes to stimulate consumer interest. Other activities include a tie-up with Aga demonstration teams and a chef's table at the Connaught Hotel in London.

Adrian Barlow, chief executive of English Apples and Pears, said: "The Bramley apple is an iconic product and is only produced commercially in Britain.

"The challenge is to persuade consumers to cook with Bramley apples when a lot of modern social trends have mitigated against cooking in the home."