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How sustainable will new apple varieties be into the future?

The SweeTango. The Breeze. The Jazz. Step aside Red Delicious and Macintosh because these are the new varieties in town.

As the apple industry continues to experiment with new varieties of apples on the market, perhaps the question is: why is this happening?

“It really relates to what consumers want in an apple and what newer varieties provide to drive demand away from established varieties whose market share is declining,” says Miles Kohl, chief executive officer of Naches, Wa.-based Allan Bros. Inc. After all, taste preferences are all across the board from the sweeter tasting options such as the Ambrosia or Autumn Glory to the more tart choices such as the Junami and Kanzi. “Consumers have been introduced to varieties offering an eating experience that is better than some varieties that they’ve known for decades,” says Kohl. “Varieties like Honeycrisp, Jazz, Envy, Ambrosia and others have introduced a better eating experience than consumers were getting from those traditional

Collecting apples in bins at Allan Bros.

The growers’ role
While consumers taste preferences are one element pushing change, the growers are also working on their end. “Growers, packers and marketers involved in new varieties have put an emphasis into providing a consistent quality-eating product as most new varieties involve a managed program that focuses on the best practises to provide that consistent quality eating experience for the consumer,” says Kohl. Varieties that haven’t had this focus put on them—whether they’re an older variety or newer one--will lose the confidence of an ever increasingly sophisticated consumer, he adds.

Photo: Allan Bros.

Tougher road ahead 
While until now it’s been the run up to discovering the new Honeycrisp, the apple many consider to have started this new eating experience, from here on it may only get more challenging. “We’ll continue to see new varieties introduced to the market,” says Kohl. (Interestingly, according to the Washington Apple Commission which notes that eight primary varieties of apples are grown in the state, Red Delicious, an apple that some headlines have predicted is in decline, still accounts for 34% of the state’s total crop, followed by Gala at 19%. Newer varieties still only account for up to 3% of the state’s total production.)

“The success of each new variety will be more challenging since it will have to offer something better or unique to what’s currently available,” says Kohl.

For more information:
Miles Kohl
Allan Bros. Inc.
Tel: +1-(509) 653-2625

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