When celebrity chef Rick Stein urged people to buy more varied British apples, he singled out the Australian grown Pink Lady for having “little to them”.
But when a top British producer developed its own pink-skinned apple to be a homegrown rival to the Pink Lady it encountered fierce legal resistance, it has emerged.
In 2019, growers AC Goatham developed the ‘Flanders Pink’ at its Kent orchards, in part to help boost self sufficiency in the UK. But, just over a year after obtaining a trademark for the name, the company surrendered the brand and renamed it ‘Reveille’, the name of the traditional military bugle call.
The Telegraph understands the move stemmed from a legal challenge by Apple and Pear Australia Limited (Apal), the owners of the Pink Lady variety, which ferociously defends a worldwide trademark for the name. A spokeswoman for Apal last night failed to repeated requests for a comment.
Earlier this year their lawyers forced a Scottish distillery to abandon an attempt to name a gin after the Pink Lady of Stirling Castle, a ghost said to wander around the historic site at the dead of night. Stirling Distillery launched its Pink Lady Gin last year.
Shortly afterwards, Apal’s lawyers wrote warning the company “does not tolerate use by a third party of their well-known Pink Lady brand for goods or services, in particular food and beverage products.”
The distillery renamed the drink Stirling Pink Gin, but it was understood they lost £5,000 in the process. British apple growers currently produce 40 per cent of all apples eaten in the UK.
The industry has been at pains to try to increase its market share, as well as drive down the need for fruit requiring a destructive carbon footprint to be shipped to Britain.
AC Goatham is considering making a donation to Help for Heroes from sales of the Reveille apples. Mr Stein used his new BBC series Rick Stein’s Cornwall to urge shoppers to avoid making “dumbed down” choices when buying apples in supermarkets.
He said: “There is so much knowledge, love and history in apples and all we seem to be able to do is go to a supermarket and pick up Pink Ladies."
“They're grown for a long shelf life, and in vast orchards. I've been to a Pink Lady orchard near Adelaide which was a bit soul-destroying, really.
"It's just the general dumbing-down of stuff we eat that's a worry. You're just assuming if you go to the supermarket it will be of a reasonable quality. It's just the way we live."