In the autumn of 2016 there were thirteen varieties of club apples produced and marketed in Italy. But the Interpoma exhibition in the same year and the more recent Fruit Attraction exhibition in 2017 have formed a showcase for new varieties of apple that are strictly patented and managed in clubs. So much so that there are now three new varieties in this sector in our country: yello, SweeTango and Kissabel. All three clearly represent a great opportunity for the sector and growers.
The new varieties bring a new and defined taste, because to be successful it is necessary to have a truly recognisable flavour. Of note are the crunchiness and juiciness, and the right balance between sweetness and a slight note of acidity, all characteristics that make the apple appetising and fresh.
For these new and promising cultivars, the quantities are still very small and the development potential development is decidedly positive. The stand-out variety of the latest arrivals is the envy, the most valued in the world, a super-sweet variety with its red peel and explosive flavour. In the same segment, but differentiated by its yellow colour, is the yello apple, originally from Japan but also cultivated in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Instead, the Crimson Snow variety is a purple-red apple with a shelf life of 12 months.
All the new varieties of apple are listed below:
– “Kissabel”is the brand chosen for the red skin and flesh varieties of Ifored, an international consortium comprising 14 of the biggest apple producers from all over the world;
– “yello” is the brand registered in 60 countries worldwide to promote the Japanese variety Shinano Gold;
– “SweeTango”is the brand used to identify the American variety Minneiska, developed by the University of Minnesota;
– “envy”is the commercial brand of the Scilate cultivar, for which New Zealand company Enzafruit holds the exclusive worldwide cultivation and marketing rights;
– “Swing”is the brand of the Xeleven cultivar of French origin, of which Red Moon is the owner of all rights;
– “Crimson Snow”is the brand of MC38, a spontaneous mutation found in Australia and managed worldwide by Kiku Variety Management;
– “Regal’In”is the brand of the Regal’You cultivar, developed in Franceby Agro Selection Fruits.
Modern distributors have understood that the apple sales counter must be rejuvenated with a sharp change, as it no longer reflects consumer expectations and desires. The goal is to obtain many apples for all tastes and colours, but above all many varieties, each one suitable for a different and specific microclimate. These are apples with exceptional beneficial and health properties, with an anthocyanin content of up to 6 times higher than that of a normal apple, practically a superfruit.
It goes without saying that a new product needs an equally new way of presenting itself to the market. And if the product has the right characteristics, nothing prevents the segments from being controlled even at different times, obviously trying to avoid overlaps. For example, if Kanzi, a sour apple, gives the best of itself in the spring, then in the second part of the season, super-sweet (envy) or sub-acid (Ambrosia) apples are perfect for the first part of the season, covering in this way the autumn and winter months.
The determining factors for the introduction of new varieties of apples are therefore different and concern taste, aesthetics, production capacity and preservability, or shelf life.
It is fundamental to grow the market in parallel with production, with a clear commercial proposal that involves customers right from the early stages of introducing each variety. The consumer tends to accept something new more willingly if the product is correctly positioned and if the value proposition and characteristics of the apple are clearly highlighted. From this point of view, even the traditional markets are slowly starting to accept these innovative products.
According to the marketing manager of the Melinda Consortium, the varietal structure of the coming years is clear: “On the one hand it will be important to enhance the production of traditional varieties, which is our strength, while on the other hand we will strive to develop new varieties of apple, with a consequent increase in quality.”
The choice of new apple varieties will have to be based on two fundamental factors: the new variety must first of all be an apple with excellent aesthetic and organoleptic properties, which are different from the classic ones and have a taste that is in demand and appreciated by consumers.
The major distributors, on the other hand, will have to appreciate the effort made by producers to give identity, distinctiveness and value to the apple, raising awareness in the eyes of the consumer. If a product is called by its “name and surname”, thisis a positive fact, but be careful not to offer similar or hardly recognisable alternatives: there’s not room for everyone in the fruit section.