Apple crops to be smaller and sweeter due to last summer heatwaves

British apple crops are expected to be smaller and sweeter this year, due to last summer’s extreme heat and droughts.

According to British Apples and Pears Limited (BAPL), high temperatures in 2022 meant UK apple farmers received inconsistent crops.

As a result, some trees produced a good amount of fruit, while others produced far less – even those in the same orchard.

However, this year British apple volumes are not expected to match the bumper crop of last year due to the summer being far cooler – giving apples increased levels of natural sugars, developing the full potential of their taste and flavour.

Earlier this year, BAPL released data conducted by farm business consultants Andersons that put the median cost of producing a kilo of British Gala apples at £1.26.

Despite the challenges, the apple association is working closely with retailers to create in-store theatre celebrating the best of British top fruit, and has now designated October as British Apple Month to raise awareness of apples as the ‘hidden superfood’.

This year’s weather challenges for UK growers have come on top of continued cost pressures for the industry. In response, Morrisons launched a new trial to support farmers by underwriting 100% of the costs associated with growing crops.

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Executive chair of BAPL, Ali Capper, said: “Last year’s heat and the cooler spring this year have been challenging for UK growers. Growing and storage costs are still inflating year-on-year. With a smaller predicted crop in 2023, this means the cost of production per kilo will increase this year.”

Capper continued: “Growers are especially delighted about the expected eating experience of the new season apples. The excellent flavour profile of British apples is certainly being maintained. Unfortunately, growers are yet to see cost pressures ease.”

“Energy prices are still much higher than they were 18 months ago, and growers are locked into energy contracts. Apple and pear businesses are not getting the support on energy prices from government that many other business sectors are receiving.

“Our members are reporting that Cox and Bramley orchards in particular are being grubbed. This is very concerning. We need supermarkets to pay a fair return to our growers to ensure the future sustainability of the industry.”

Earlier this year, BAPL revealed that Aldi is on the verge of overtaking Tesco as the biggest seller of British apples in the UK.



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