ANGERS, may 2022 – The harvest of Kissabel® apples in Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa ended in recent weeks with very positive results. Thanks to the relatively normal summer conditions, the quality was excellent, with good-sized calibres. The red-flesh apples, with their inviting crunchiness and extraordinary taste, are ready to delight consumers in the Southern Hemisphere.
One of the most enthusiastic reports comes from Australia, the country in the Southern Hemisphere where the program is at its most advanced stage. “The harvest of Kissabel® apples,” comments Angela Bracken, Marketing Manager at Montague, “was very positive, since we enjoyed a summer that was cooler than usual with above-average rainfall in most growing areas. This resulted in high-quality, good- sized fruit. There were a number of issues to deal with due to the humidity, but the result was certainly positive.” Sales are also looking good. “Our newly opened retail shop, Bill’s Orchard Gate,” continues Bracken, “has enabled us to directly test Kissabel® with the local community and obtain consumer feedback on its visual appeal, taste and flavour. We have received very good feedback on all fronts, with several consumers returning to buy and asking for more information.” And that’s not all. “We have also included Kissabel® apples in our orchard tours that we organise for consumers, during which we teach them how to harvest this apple and savour it at its best,” concludes Bracken.
Montague has implemented various marketing activities to promote consumption of its range of pink and red-flesh apples. These include in-store posters (also used in gift boxes distributed to customers and the media), consumer education sessions, in-store tastings, PR activities with the media and social media posts.
In neighbouring New Zealand, the Kissabel® project is also continuing and already looking ahead. “We are now in our third year of testing,” explains Paul Paynter, General Manager of Yummyfruit, “and we can report that these low-acid apples are exactly what we need. This quality is particularly sought after by Asian consumers, whom we are increasingly targeting commercially.”
Continuing westwards, another key production area is South Africa, where the advanced testing phase is moving producers towards the “red” varietal group, which is best suited to this area’s soil and climate characteristics. “We will focus on red-flesh varieties,” confirms Tanith Freeman, Product Development Manager at Dutoit, “launching the commercial campaign in 2025 and concentrating on local distribution in premium supermarkets as our main target.”
Finally, the tests underway in Chile by Unifrutti and Argentina by Mono Azul are also achieving excellent results. “The flesh colour and crunchiness of Kissabel® have been very good,” reports Riccardo Gatti, Head of Production at Unifrutti. “The feedback from those who had the opportunity to taste them,” he continues, “was exceptional, so much so that the limited available stock quickly sold out. This year we will focus on testing in Central America and we are very optimistic about the next marketing steps.
This optimistic outlook has also been confirmed by program manager Emmanuel de Lapparent: “It is fantastic to see that the IFORED program is also making great progress in the Southern Hemisphere, with our Partners now planning their first pilot plantations. Very soon they will have more fruit to assess the market potential of these unique fruit and promote the Kissabel® brand”.
Kissabel® is the brand that identifies the different varieties of coloured-flesh apple – from pink to intense red – developed with the aid of exclusively natural breeding techniques by the IFORED programme, an international partnership involving 14 of the world’s largest production and marketing companies.