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Demand for red-fleshed Kissabel® apples continues to outstrip supply

24/03/2021 – Fruit / Apples / Kissabel / Red / Europe / Worldwide / Greenyard / Melinda / VIP / VOG / Rivoira / Mesfruits / Blue Whale / Fenaco

Demand for red-fleshed Kissabel® apples continues to outstrip supply

As recent plantings across Europe result in higher volumes of Kissabel® – a group of highly distinctive red- or pink-fleshed additions to the apple category – suppliers continue to report strong commercial interest, with demand far above the available supply, indicating a bright future for the innovative new brand.

In the UK, the new brand is already seen to offer a real point of difference in a market that is worth £1 billion. “I firmly believe that Kissabel® is one of the most exciting varietal developments,” commented Jeremy Linsell, Technical and Performance Development Officer at fruit marketing and distribution company Worldwide Fruit which was one of first UK growers to plant two yellow-skinned Kissabel® varieties. Commercial Director Hannah McIlfatrick added that Worldwide Fruit is "extremely excited” about the product’s arrival. “Kissabel® brings something truly unique to the category, with its distinct red-pink flesh colour and deliciously fresh crisp taste.”

Reaction to Kissabel® apples from commercial partners is also positive. “The feedback has been good, and the customers like it,” says Anna Coxe, Head of Technical and Quality at Greenyard Group – a global market leader of fresh, frozen and prepared fruit. “We have a positive feeling about the level of demand for next season.”

“The perfect wow factor”

A special campaign last Halloween encouraged consumers to discover a ‘frightful surprise’ inside the fruit. This contributed to 119-per-cent annual sales growth at Worldwide Fruit, according to the firm’s Marketing Manager, Victoria Cliff. “More and more consumers want to try special and different products, with an emphasis on locally sourced, seasonal produce. Halloween continues to provide the perfect stage for Kissabel®, which offers the perfect wow factor.”

Marketing has also made an impact in Germany. “The Halloween edition was perceived especially well,” recalled Wolfgang Kreiser, Director of Red Apple Germany. “The red-fleshed apples attracted attention from retailers as well as shoppers. We have planted more Kissabel® Rouge trees, to meet demand better in future. Although Kissabel® will remain a niche product for us, it has proven to be successful in its niche.“ He adds: “We saw huge interest in and demand for Kissabel® pre-season – even to the extent that we couldn’t meet all of our customers’ requests.”

Kissabel® has the support in Italy, too, where supplier Melinda together with South Tyrolean co-operatives VIP and VOG have planted around 17ha of Kissabel® Rouge apples. They expect to sell a combined volume of 300 tonnes this year, doubling that in 2022, before reaching 900 tonnes in 2023. Meanwhile, Piedmont-based supplier Gruppo Rivoira will also begin planting another type of Kissabel® Rouge next year.

The brand is also making good progress in France, through the support of firms like Mesfruits and Blue Whale, as well as in Switzerland, where leading co-operative Fenaco has worked hard to build awareness of the brand among its customer base.

Notably, Kissabel® represents not one but several highly distinctive additions to the apple category. Marketed as Kissabel Rouge, Orange, or Jaune, a number of different red-, orange- and yellow-skinned varieties offer a variety of appealing flavours.

Kissabel® was developed using exclusively natural breeding techniques thanks to the IFORED programme, an international partnership that involves 14 of the major production and marketing companies in the world.

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