"Kantar data show overall sales of apples have increased seven per cent in the past 12 months, which is an amazing turnaround and I'm sure our advertising has played a part in that," he said, adding that sales of English dessert apples to multiples have now risen 79 per cent since 2006.
Barlow said of the current season: "It won't be the most profitable we've ever seen, but it will allow the industry to develop, which is also in the retailers' interests."
He explained: "There are record crops of Gala and Braeburn, and also of new varieties that growers are investing in that can bring so much to the industry in future and maintain competitiveness against imports. As long as returns to growers are sufficient, share of the UK market will grow, as will exports, which we are intent on seeing grow too."
The largely dry and mild weather since August "has enabled us to crack on with harvesting", he added. "The rain in August has swollen fruit, though isn't the problem we had last year of outsize fruit. Juice levels are very high and there is great colour due to the differential in day and night temperatures over the past two months. Consumers will be very pleased. Overwhelmingly, consumers want to buy British - for the taste, for the lower transport emissions and to support the local economy. But a huge number still aren't aware of when the English season starts."