An initiative aimed at trialing and commercializing red-flesh apple varieties now has two new members, taking its total production capacity to three million metric tons (MT) annually.
International Fruit Obtention (IFO) bred the unique varieties and in 2012 formed the association IFORED with 13 partners spanning five continents, with companies already involved including France's Blue Whale, Unifrutti in Chile and Montague in Australia.
The latest additions are New Zealand's Johnny Appleseed, the grower-shipper responsible for the "Yummy" brand, and Red Apple Germany (RAG), a subsidiary of an R&D consortium owned by Germany's nine main apple cooperatives.
With these two companies included, IFORED now has companies covering 55,000 hectares of apple production in its membership.
"Our group is at a mature stage and is working exceptionally well," IFORED board president Bruno Essner said in a release.
"IFORED comprises global leaders who support with all the effort and experience necessary to introduce these new red-flesh apple varieties globaly.
An IFORED release said the different members were evaluating a range of 24 selections under their own productive conditions.
"The diversity of skin coloring and superior flavor of these new varieties, developed with traditional breeding techniques, are impressive," said the IFO's Thierry Ligonniere.
"We are truly facing products with excellent commercial potential."
The release highlighted the most advanced selections had been planted in pilot orchards in Europe, with the first pre-commercial orchards set for planting in 2015.
"We are also putting a great emphasis on developing a commercialization concept for this line of varieties, which will govern IFORED variety sales globally," Essner added.
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