Supermarket’s core flavours grow as apple project reaches fruition

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A rare variety of red-fleshed apple is to go on sale to UK shoppers for the first time next week.

Cultivated by a Worcestershire fruit tree specialist, the apples, named Raspberry Ripple to reflect their unusual appearance, will hit the shelves at three branches of Tesco on Monday.

The supermarket giant hopes trial sales of the “stunning” apple at three sites in London will pave the way for its introduction across a wider area next year.

The naturally-occurring variety was discovered by chance growing in an orchard near Hereford nine years ago and has been developed by Tenbury Wells-based fruit tree nursery Frank Matthews Ltd.

The nursery was contacted almost a decade ago by a local grower who informed them he had an extremely rare red-fleshed apple, and cuttings were then grafted on to rootstock to create an initial batch of 100 trees.

Growers are now satisfied the red flesh is consistent in apples from each of the trees, which are said to produce fruit with a hint of the flavour of raspberries.

Although trees yielding a different variety of red-fleshed apple have been available in the UK since 2010 from a Devon-based seed company, no red-fleshed varieties have previously been available through supermarkets.

Frank Matthews’ owner, Nick Dunne, said: “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 apple buyer Gill Getty said: “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.”