In last week's English Apple Man Journal the English Apples and Pears 2018 Season Launch of 'Great British Apples' highlighted the exceptional taste of home grown apples after the summer sun raised sugar levels above the average.
EAP Executive Chair Ali Capper emphasised the eating quality, suggesting it is the best tasting fruit this century!
This week we will report on visits to major UK Supermarkets to assess what is on display and taste samples!
On Wednesday a visit to M&S in Hastings East Sussex.
A good selection of British apples & pears on display. Cox, Gala, Egremont Russet & Smitten apples and Conference pears.
'Perfect Pick' Cox x 4 pack priced at £2.50 (but reduced to £1.92)
Loose Gala priced @ £2 a kilo
Polybag (small) Gala priced @ £.50 x 6 apples
Smitten apples x 4 pack 65/70mm priced @ £2
Loose Bramley priced @ £1.85 a kilo
Polybag Conference pears x 5 pears priced @ £1.55
Loose Conference pears priced @ £2.30 a kilo
'Perfectly Ripe Conference pears 58/63mm x 4 priced @ £2.50
The English Apple Man bought Smitten apples and Perfectly Ripe Conference pears
The Smitten grown by Paul Mansfield in East Kent had very good flavour and a crisp, juicy texture. The Conference grown by Melvyn Newman in East Kent was very, very ripe, very juicy and very good flavour. The Best Before date: 16 October indicates the sample will be extremely ripe in another 4 days!
On Thursday a visit to TESCO in Hastings East Sussex and MORRISONS in Eastbourne East Sussex
An excellent display of British apples and pears.
Tesco Kanzi x 6 pack 63/73mm @ £2
Egremont Russet x 4 pack 63/73mm priced @ £2
Rosedene Small Gala 520 gramme polybag @ 78p (£1.50kg)
Gala apples x 6 pack 60/70mm @ 80p
Gala loose apples @ £2.20 kilo
Rubens x 6 pack 63/73mm @ £2
Cox apples x 6 pack 63/73mm @ £1.20
Santana 'Organic' apples 630gramme pack 73/78mm @ £2.20
Bramley cooking loose apples @ £1.85 kilo
Ready to Eat Conference 550gramme pears x 4 pack 60/65mm @ £2
The English Apple Man bought Santana 'organic' & Rubens & apples + Ripe & Ready to eat Conference pears
The Santana organic apples grown by Mike Thorn have good flavour (a slightly acidic taste) and a crisp and juicy texture. The Rubens apples grown in Gloucestershire by Mark Savidge has good flavour, satisfactory juicy texture. The 'Ready to eat' Conference pears grown by Adrian Scripps in West Kent are very ripe, juicy and have good flavour BB 12 October.
A very impressive assortment of British Apples, my only disappointment some of the shelf markers were misleading and (although only 2.30pm) the display looked a bit untidy. Surely staff could have spent a few minutes enhancing presentation.
'Market Street' Cox apples 1.8kg 'bumper pack 70/75mm @ £2.80
Cox loose apples @ £2.36 kilo
Red Pippin apples x 6 pack 68/73mm @ £1.35
Egremont Russet loose apples @ £2.36 kilo
Early Windsor loose apples @ £1.92 kilo
Smitten apples x 6 pack 65.70mm @ £1.70
'Market Street Gala x 6 pack 65/70mm @ 1.35
The English Apple Man bought 'Market Street' Cox, Red Pippin & Smitten apples.
The 'Market Street' Cox grown by Paul Smith in Kent had very good flavour and a crisp juicy texture. The Red Pippin grown at Eaton Farm had very good flavour and a crisp juicy texture. The Smitten grown by Peter Chandler in East Kent had very good flavour and a crisp & juicy texture.
On Friday (today) visits to Waitrose in Hawkhurst Kent and Sainsburys Hastings in East Sussex
'Duchy' Gala apples x 4 pack @ £2.50
Egremont Russet apples x 5 pack @ £2
Royal Gala x 4 pack 70/75mm @ £2
Mini apples 55/60mm (Early Windsor) x 6 pack @ £1.50
Bramley loose cooking apples @ £1.85 kilo
'Essential Waitrose' Royal Gala x 7 polybag 58/63mm @ £1.50
Worcester Pearmain small apples 55/60mm
'Duchy' Organic Conference pears x 4 pack @ £2.50
Conference loose pears @ £2.20 kilo
Conference pear x 6 pack @ £2
Conference pear x 4 pack 58/63mm @ £2.30 with 3 for 2 offer
The English Apple Man bought Red Windsor, Worcester Pearmain & Royal Gala apples + Conference pears.
The Red Windsor grown by Paul Mansfield had good flavour, was juicy and had OK texture (losing crispness). The small Worcester Pearmain grown in Herefordshire was 'frankly past it' with a dry texture. The Royal Gala grown by Robert Balicki in East Kent had very good flavour and a crispy juicy texture. The Conference grown by Clive Baxter in West Kent had very good flavour and with a BB of 14 October 'ripe'
Gala x 4 pack apples 140-170 gramme @ £1.50
Royal Gala apples loose @ £2
Royal Gala apples x 6 pack 125-150 gramme @ £1.60
Royal Gala polybag apples x 6 pack @ £1.50
Zari apples x 4 pack 204-255 gramme @ £
Cox apples x 6 pack @ £1.80
Cox loose apples 75/80mm @ £
Bramley cooking apples loose @ £1.75 kilo
Bramley apples x 4 pack @ £1.60
'Ripe & Ready' Conference pears x 4 pack @ £1.75
Conference polybag pears x 4 60/65mm @ £1.55
Conference pears loose @ £2
'Greengrocer' pears 45/55mm x 6 @ 80p
The English Apple man bought Royal Gala loose, Cox loose and Zari apples.
The loose Gala had good flavour and a crisp juicy texture. The loose Cox had good flavour and a crisp juicy texture. The Zari had very good flavour was crisp and very juicy
Tasting the samples today, it was difficult to consume 'modest portions' as the flavour excited my taste buds!
As one would expect, as our home grown season is now gaining momentum with new varieties coming on stream on a regular basis, with Braeburn and Jazz still to come, the quality of British apples & pears is very, very good!
Reflecting back to last week, when The English Apple Man Journal reported the launch of 'Great British Apples' our top fruit industry's plan for the future of British apples & pears, I have asked John Giles of Promar International a global expert on marketing and one of the 'panel of experts' at the formal launch to add his overview of the evening's event.
While there is some duplication of my report, it is always worthwhile airing another viewpoint.
WHAT WAS SAID AT THE LAUNCH OF THE ENGLISH APPLE AND PEAR SEASON?
John Giles, Divisional Director, Promar International
Last week, I was asked to attend and be involved with the formal launch of the English Apple and Pear season - this was held at a 1920s style cinema in the Portobello Road in London - a bit different from the normal sort of venue for this sort of event, but suitably stylish and different!
The event was attended by a very good cross section of leading growers and packers, industry stakeholders and retailers, as well as others from across the supply chain.
I found myself on a panel of 3 answering questions about the opportunities for the UK apple and pear sector. This was after an inspiring "call to arms" from Ali Capper from the NFU, who heads up the English Apple and Pear organisation, as well as being a grower in her own right in Herefordshire.
The evening began with a great industry video/film that set out some of the challenges the industry faces, as well as the opportunities too. You can see this here - watch out for a contribution from yours truly too!
http://englishapplesandpears.co.uk © English Apples and Pears
The apple and pear sector in the UK faces many challenges and indeed opportunities which are not too dissimilar from the rest of the UK agri food sector. Having a clear sense of direction is of course a good starting point though. Ali set out an ambitious plan for the fruit industry over the next 15 years or so, which was then debated by the panel of myself, Michael Barker from the FPJ and Robert Rendall, a leading grower. These themes included:
- The need to boost self-sufficiency in apple production from its current level of around 40% to nearer 60% by 2030
- The need to invest in good marketing and promotion of English fruit - music to my own (personal) ears!
- The need to face up to the challenges of Brexit. There are serious concerns in the industry on this, especially over areas such as labour availability, funding for Producer Organisations post March 2019, the future of trade deals and the role of non-tariff barriers and the overall levels of support to farmers per se
- The need to meet consumer demands for fruit and other food products. These might include the demand for tasty (foods), convenience, healthy, locally sourced food that also provides good value for money - but also a recognition that not all consumers are the same. They will want different things from fruit and will respond to different promotional and marketing triggers. This will especially apply to the millennial generation
- The need to invest at farm level in new technology and varieties through a programme of matched investment, not least in areas such as crop estimating and planning models/tools and areas of automation and robotics
- Looking at niche export opportunities, but bearing in mind we only produce c. 1% of the world's apples, and at the moment, we do not control our own domestic market, which is often a strong feature of successful exporting countries (not just in the fruit sector)
- We need to extoll the virtues of English fruit and if this includes a low environmental footprint - that's good - but it won't be enough on its own - and we should not forget that other suppliers will be doing the same
This was an upbeat event. While no one was down playing the challenges that the industry will face in the short and then mid to long term, with a good product to grow and sell, a strong promotional campaign in place (supported by all the leading retail customers the UK fruit sector serves) and a clear vision of what is required for the future and opportunities ahead, the English fruit sector looks to be on the up.
A dynamic leadership team would seem to be a big plus too. In Ali Capper and Sarah Calcutt, as well as others, English Apples and Pears seem to have many of the ingredients in place for a positive future. Good, if not excellent, products, a sustained marketing effort over time, supportive customers and headed up by good people. It all sounds so simple doesn't it, but of course the real challenge lies ahead. Setting out the vision might be the easy bit. Implementing, it has often proved to be a bit harder and this is where the hard work now begins.
John has worked on top fruit assignments in the UK, the rest of the EU, South Africa, Chile, China, New Zealand, Australia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and can be contacted at: John Giles
That is all for this week
The English Apple Man