Campaign to promote extended apple season hailed as a success

A new year campaign to raise awareness of the extended British apple season has been hailed as an "astonishing" success by English Apple and Pears (EAP) chief executive Adrian Barlow.

A press release sent to BBC radio and television stations explained that the season now lasts until the end of May thanks to the increased volume and availability of English Braeburn.

This season the Braeburn volumes have been twice that of the previous crop, the EAP pointed out.

Its campaign also highlighted the availability of English Jazz, Kanzi, Cameo, English Cox, Gala and Egremont Russet as well as the benefits of buying English produce.

The press release, which was followed up by free samples of English apples, created such an explosion of interest that the "secondary launch" of the English apple season was featured on dozens of local and national radio and television news shows on Friday 15 January.

The campaign was then launched to the rest of the press the following week with further features taking place.

Television coverage included features on the BBC's Working Lunch, BBC Breakfast and South East Today. Further interviews were scheduled for broadcast as Grower went to press.

Barlow said: "The uptake we have had is astonishing. We've obtained a huge amount of coverage on national and regional television and radio, which should increase awareness and consumer demand for English varieties during the next three-and-a-half months.

"We have even had an enquiry from a large food store in Scotland, which is talking to suppliers," he added.

"Journalists have asked me: 'Why is it important that we buy English?' I have explained to them that the UK's climate provides ideal growing conditions — and because people are reducing their carbon footprint by buying English apples over imports.

"Many of the stations broadcast introductions that highlighted some of our messages."

The big freeze at the start of the year meant that the launch was postponed from 8 to 15 January. "The severe weather made it likely that our messages would have been diluted by the media's preoccupation with weather-related problems," Barlow explained.

"Additionally, we did not want to launch the press campaign when shopper numbers were greatly reduced."

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