Retailer calms British apple supply fears

Sainsbury's top-fruit product technologist Theresa Huxley has played down reported availability problems of British apples this season, saying: "People have jumped to conclusions too early."

She told Grower: "We are just at the stage of seeing the effect of the weather on fruit and I will know better after going round most of my growers in the next few weeks.

"It is likely to mean more scab and there has been recent hail damage in some areas, but we are confident that we will still give consumers a good offer."

The Braeburn crop is likely to be less than last year simply because the variety tends to crop biannually, rather than because of the weather, she added.

The retailer plans to offer Zari apples in branded packs for the first time shortly. The early apples, grown exclusively by AC Goatham, are seen as able to compete with imported Pink Lady apples.

More than nine-million Pink Lady apples were sold during a three-week £1-a-bag promotion in Morrison's that ended this week.

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