Excellent taste and outstanding internal colour: the Kissabel® apple harvest in the Northern Hemisphere has produced positive results. Following the yellow- and orange-skinned varieties in Switzerland, the UK and France, in October German, Italian, British and US growers completed the harvest of varieties with a red skin and flesh.
The range of apples with their strikingly coloured flesh, ranging from pink to intense red, is now entering the European market, following positive feedback from fruit and vegetable sector professionals at Fruit Attraction. “The trade fair in Madrid was an excellent opportunity to present the broad portfolio of Kissabel® varieties, which attracted the attention and enthusiasm of visitors and buyers due to both the ‘wow’ effect of the flesh and to their excellent taste performance,” said Emmanuel de Lapparent, manager of IFORED program.
A high-quality harvest
Kissabel®’s success at the fair is hardly surprising, given the very positive trend of the 2022 harvest in all current producer countries. The NovaMela Consortium, which brings together the Italian producers Melinda, VIP, Rivoira, La Trentina and VOG, has reported a very good-quality harvest, with slightly larger sizes than last year.
“The Italian harvest has been good and in line with our forecasts,” explains Fabio Zanesco, spokesman for Novamela. “The performance is looking strong and the packout looks promising, as well as the internal colour. The actual sales window based on availability will be from the end of October for around a month”. Quantities and the marketing period will increase in the 2023-24 season, when the Rivoira company’s Piedmont plants start production.
Germany has also reported positive results. “In the apple cultivation areas around Lake Constance and in the Altes Land along the Elbe, we primarily focus on the Kissabel® Rouge variety with red skin and flesh. With Kissabel® Rouge, we can rest assured that the flesh changes colour in our climate, always reaching an optimal shade, and this year was no exception,” reports Jens Anderson, Kissabel marketing manager at Red Apple Germany GmbH. “We had a lot of sun and warmth in the last months. This has resulted in higher sugar levels, so the taste is excellent. Despite the drought in Europe, growing conditions have been optimal in both northern and southern Germany, with sufficient moisture content. Thus the fruit sizes are also in the optimal range for the food retail trade”.
The harvest exceeded expectations in the UK, the first country to start production of all three Kissabel® apple types. “It’s been an excellent growing season so far,” comments Hannah McIlfatrick, sales manager at World Wide Fruit. “Skin finish looks very good and the fruit size profile is looking much better for UK markets than last year”.
Following the success of the yellow-skinned varieties, whose characteristics have delighted growers, and orange-skinned varieties with their outstanding flavour, the red-skinned variety has also gained traction. “We’ve learnt how to optimise the eating quality of Kissabel® Rouge,” continues McIlfatrick, “and we are super excited to get consumer feedback from our first Red Skin Red Flesh harvest”.
This year, Kissabel® also debuted in the United States with the first quantities of yellow- and orange-skinned varieties harvested by the NBT cooperative in Washington State. “The apples had very strong internal colour and good flavour,” reports Brianna Shales, marketing director at Stemilt Growers. “In the future, we hope to have more volumes and continuation of this year’s colour and quality to help introduce these to North American consumers”.
The season gets into full swing
With harvest quality at this level, partners have high expectations for the coming sales months.
In Germany, Kissabel® apples will be available from late October: Halloween will be the theme of special seasonal packaging and point-of-sale promotions. The ‘Baking Red Event’, a competition inviting German consumers to create new recipes with the striking colour and excellent taste of Kissabel® apples, is scheduled for November and December. Participants will upload them to the dedicated website where other users can vote for them for a chance to win high-quality kitchen tools. The recipe with the most votes will receive the first prize, a food processor.
In Italy, Kissabel® Rouge has been on the shelves since 20 October and the forecasts are excellent. “The trade sector is extremely interested in such niches as Kissabel®, at the moment demand is well above market offer,” remarks Fabio Zanesco. “We expect a dynamic and satisfying season for our red-flesh apples, thanks also to a very strong consumer curiosity and appreciation”.
The first results have already arrived in the UK, where marketing began in September and will continue until January. “The early start to the season has been very positive. We look forward on building on this through to Halloween,” comments Hannah McIlfatrick. “We are incredibly excited to be offering the full range of apples from yellow, to orange and the red skin, all with a red / pink flesh colour. Customers are certainly engaged with Kissabel and I can’t wait for the feedback from our new consumers”.
Although still in the testing phase, the outlook for North America is also positive. “We will be sampling Kissabel® apples to our retail buyers at the upcoming Global Fresh Produce and Floral Show in Orlando,” explains Brianna Shales. “We have shared samples in the past with retailers and they love the colour and enjoy the flavour. We expect this season to really impress them given the great internal colour”.
In all geographical areas, partners are also involved in studying different varieties developed within the IFORED programme in order to expand assortment, cultivation areas and harvest periods in the future.