Johan en Vincent Nicolai, Zouk bvba

"Not enough attention paid to an apple's texture"

Look at the trends in the apple market. You will notice that the latest varieties are mostly red and very sweet. These are being introduced in Northern Europe. According to Johan Nicolai, too much attention is being paid to the apple's taste and color. There is, however, not enough being paid to the texture.

“The apples that have appeared on the market in recent years are very hard with a fresh, sweet flavor. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this. However, in our experience, a juicy, not-too-hard apple is the nicest to eat. It must also be a bit crunchy."

"The success of the Honey Crisp apple in America is a perfect example of how texture can make a variety famous. This is a really neutral-tasting apple. It, however, has a fine, slightly crispy texture. This makes you want to taste more," says Johan.

Vincent and Johan Nicolai at Fruit Attraction in Madrid

“An apple's taste and color are, of course, crucial. This is besides its texture. When you get to the supermarket, you see a large apple assortment. Red apples are, by far, in the majority. There is, of course, the striking Granny Smith. Red is, however, the dominant color."

"That is why we are, among other things, busy developing varieties that have a distinctive color. It must be clear to people which apples they have had before. They must then chose these same apples when they go shopping again," says Vincent, Johan's son.

Managing the variety
“The apples may have excellent taste, color, and texture. However, if they are not managed, things will still not work out well, I am afraid. That is why there must be a good concept behind apples that will be brought onto the market in the coming years."

"It is also important that they be a risk-free variety. Growers must have as few problems as possible with them. They must be able to focus on the apples' quality. Short chains are also essential," Vincent continues.

"They must be a high-quality variety that can be easily produced locally. The apples must reach store shelves in perfect condition. People will then grab them. Their stable quality - texture and taste - means consumers will come back for more."

Focus on quality
“It is crucial that the apples' quality be consistent. We, as breeders, must keep in contact with consumers. This is true for the farmers too. We cannot afford to deliver low-quality apples. Then, people will find an alternative. They will not return."

"In this market, it is important to focus on the consumer. This focus is much more important than having as much produce as possible. You then run the risk of delivering an inferior quality product, " conclude Johan and Vincent.

For more information
Johan en Vincent Nicolai
Zouk bvba
2050 Lichtenberglaan
3800 Sint-Truiden - Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 117 020 00 

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