This week, the sales of the first batches of Belgian Kanzi apples kicked off that season at BelOrta. "This year's harvest looks excellent," begins Laurent de Smedt. "Kanzi apples like hot summers with lots of sunshine, so their quality is definitely superior this year. They have nice coloring and are a little larger than last year."
Unlike other varieties, Kanzi apples had little trouble with the recent heat and drought. "They're more resistant to the heat than, say, Jonagold. Plus, many orchards have hail nets, so we expect even more volume than in previous years." In Belgium, about 20 growers now cultivate this club apple on some 120 hectares. "That amounts to around 4,000 tons this year, which, after post-sorting, will also be more than last year. That's good because last year we had to stop slightly earlier," says Laurent.
This supply will keep rising steadily in the years ahead and Kanzi apple trees are increasingly being planted. "This expansion is especially due to the annual continued growth in demand. Kanzi apples are becoming more and more popular. That means, to avoid significant market shortages, the supply side will have to keep up with that demand. We also have some orchards that are now 18 years old and, thus, need renewal."
This new apple variety - a natural Gala/Braeburn hybrid - was discovered 30 years ago in Belgium. "The Braeburn provides the crispness and freshness. The Gala, the color and sweet taste. Only the very best apples of this new variety are allowed to be marketed as Kanzi," De Smedt explains.
"In 2004, there was the first commercial harvest after which Kanzi apples grew to become the second largest apple brand in the world." The Kanzi is a club apple: a patented variety that only select growers can produce, and only a limited number of organizations can market.
'Yes, you Kanzi'
The 'Yes, you Kanzi' campaign has been launched to indicate that these apples are now abundantly available again. It aims to help people overcome that daily energy dip. "Kanzi apples provide the energy you need to recharge completely and get everything out of each day. This fall, Kanzi is launching the 'Yes You Kanzi' platform. There, people can share tips and tricks on finding the energy to keep going. Daily prize winners will be chosen too," Laurent concludes.