Apples were harvested by IFORED’s partners in France, Switzerland, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy and U.S. over October and November.
The Kissabel brand was officially launched at Fruit Attraction in October this year, giving attendees the chance the taste the new apples which have flesh ranging in color from pink to intense red.
Kissabel fruit is the outcome of more than 20 years of research conducted with natural methods by French breeder IFO, in which red-flesh wild apples were crossed with other varieties.
The harvest in Germany has been great, according to Dirk Zabel, head of variety innovation at Deutsches Obstsorten Konsortium.
“The first tests with German retailer Edeka gave very good feedback and we have very high expectations for all the Kissabel® varieties, as we are going to plant more trees in the following years,” he said.
The U.K. harvest has been positive as well.
“The current UK focus is on Kissabel® Yellow and Orange, as the climate is ideal for the production of these apples with good inner colour,” says Robert Jarvis of Greenyard Fresh.
“Harvested first, Kissabel® Orange will be marketed as an Autumn or pre Christmas product. With both an excellent eating quality and high storage potential, Kissabel® Yellow will fulfil the sales period of Christmas and the New Year.”
The apples have been marketed in the 2018 season to a range of UK retailers such as Tesco, M&S, Waitrose, Coop and Aldi.
Production is increasing in France too.
“We didn’t get a commercial production yet, but we got good feedback from trials and visits during the harvest 2018,” said Frederic Aubert, technical manager Blue Whale.
“2019 will be our first season with a production of about 200 tons and it will allow us to really start commercial test of Kissabel® in France”.
Switzerland too is making progress on Kissabel growing.
“The crop has been good, especially for Kissabel® Yellow, which has very good quality fruits. The Kissabel® Orange is also nice, with an homogeneous flesh coloration,” said Jeanne Giesser of Fenaco Leman Fruits.
Luca Lovatti of Novamela said: “In Italy we had a good harvest of the Kissabel® Red, both in term of quality and yield. We are still gaining experience in terms on agronomy and storability. We want to deliver to our consumer the best experience in term of color in combination with texture and taste”
Josep Maria Benet, technical director at Spain-based Nufri said: “Right now, we are focusing on Kissabel® Red. We are making trials on different altitudes and climate conditions to find the best growing area in order to offer to the market the suprising red inside apple they are waiting for.”
Kissabel apples were also harvested in the U.S. this fall.
“We continue to refine the needed horticulture for red fleshed varieties. We have made some exciting discoveries that have improved how Kissabel® varieties respond in our climate,” said Dale Goldy, best practices committee chairman at NBT Coop.
“We will begin commercial plantings sometime around 2021 so we will have the first Kissabel® fruit on the market in 2023 or so”.