Morrisons plans to sell English apples until May next year, two months longer than typical seasons. The move is a response to customers wanting to buy British for longer and a forecast of a very strong apple harvest.
Morrisons move follows nation-wide customer feedback. It found 95 per cent of shoppers want to support British produce growers.
This year Morrisons will stock over 25 English apple varieties sourced from orchards in the key growing areas of Hereford, Kent, Suffolk and Worcester. The supermarket expects to sell up to 10 per cent more English apples this year.
Drew Kirk, Produce Director at Morrisons said: "British shoppers want to buy British. So, we've worked with our growers to extend the season. This move will reduce our dependency on imports, give British growers a bigger market and secure the future of the British apple crop."
Morrisons is working with English apple growers to create the perfect storage conditions in order to extend the season. The apples are stored at an optimum storage condition of -1° to 1°C temperature, 90 to 95 per cent humidity and 99 per cent darkness, to give the customer the best eating quality.
Royal Gala and Braeburn - two of the UK's most popular English apples - along with more traditional varieties such as Cox, Russet and Bramley, are being ordered by Morrisons to extend the English season. This year's growing conditions have resulted in a large apple crop. There has been 13% extra rainfall, 3% extra sunlight hours, slightly cooler temperatures, and a balance of day to night temperatures.
Both Braeburn and Royal Gala varieties will be an optimum size, colour and flavour this year. Braeburn will have a red orange streaky appearance on a yellow green background, be firm to the touch, and have a sharp refreshing but sweet flavour. Whilst Royal Gala will have strong red flushes over a yellow background and a punchy sweet flavour. The quality of English apples is better than many other European countries due to soaring continental temperatures this year.
Morrisons is one of the largest buyers of English apples in the UK and invests in promoting the produce every year. The supermarket's orders are expected to help English apple growers to innovate, invest their orchards and extend storage facilities to offer their produce for longer. It costs approximately £20,000 per hectare set up an orchard with irrigation.