New apple set to cause a ripple in Tesco's London stores
A rare raspberry tasting red-fleshed dessert apple which took 10 years to develop has gone on sale in a handful of Tesco supermarkets in London this week.
The U.K.'s largest fruit tree nursery Frank Matthews developed the 'Raspberry Ripple' for commercial propagation after a Hereford grower got in touch about a red fleshed variation of the Discovery apple.
Cuts were taken which were then grafted onto rootstock to create an initial 100 trees with a further 10 years to develop flesh conistency and grow the trees to a decent height.
Frank Matthews owner Nick Dunn, said he knew the cultivar would have great potential for future development.
"When I first saw the red flesh I thought right away that this could be big news in the apple industry and that has been borne out by the interest we are now getting from growers around the country.
"Tesco will have the first batch to ever go on sale in the U.K. and we hope that if they are well received by shoppers that we could establish the variety as a top seller very soon."
The supermarket's apple buyer Gill Getty described the apple as a "fantastic" addition to the 21 British apple varieties the supermarket stocks.
"Not only do they look amazing but, as the name implies, they have a hint of a raspberry flavour to add to their generally tangy, sweet flavor.
"There are very limited amounts of these apples as this is the first year that they have been commercially grown but if shoppers like them then we will have plenty for next year."
Tesco hopes the trial sales of Red Ripple at £2 (US$3.20) per pack of five will pave the way for wider introduction next year.
The supermarket's half-yearly U.K. profits released earlier this week showed a 12.4% decrease to £1.1 billion (US$1.77 billion) with international profits down 17.1% to £400 million (US$640 million).
Chief executive Philip Clarke described the global economy as continuing to present challenges.
"Whilst our businesses in Asia and Europe have continued to do a great job for customers, our financial performance there reflects the tough economic backdrop and particularly the regulatory changes in South Korea.
"That we have gained or held market share in the majority of markets is a testimony to the skill of our teams across the Group."
Group sales were up 1.4% to £36 billion (US$58 billion) with the chain's online grocery store growing by 11% in the U.K. with a launch scheduled for Thailand and Malaysia.