Kissabel®, a series of apple varieties with red or pink flesh, offers an increasing number of European buyers a chance to boost their sales. Some suppliers are now reporting levels of commercial demand that are far above the available supply.
Despite the obvious challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, which have limited opportunities to market directly to consumers, Kissabel® looks well placed to capture a greater share of the apple market.
In the United Kingdom for example, it already offers a real point of difference in a market that is worth £1 billion.
“We don’t see any problem with having larger volumes available in future, because its uniqueness makes it unrivalled."
“I firmly believe that Kissabel® is one of the most exciting varietal developments,” comments Jeremy Linsell, Technical and Performance Development Officer at Worldwide Fruit. He was one of first UK growers to plant two yellow-skinned Kissabel® varieties.
Reaction to Kissabel® apples from commercial partners has been good. “The feedback has been good, and the customers like it,” says Anna Coxe, Head of Technical and Quality at Greenyard. “We have a positive feeling about the level of demand for next season.”
Marketing has also made an impact in Germany. “The Halloween edition was perceived especially well,“ recalls Wolfgang Kreiser, director of Red Apple Germany. “The red-fleshed apples attracted attention from retailers as well as shoppers.
"We have planted more Kissabel® Rouge trees, to meet demand better in future. Although Kissabel® will remain a niche product for us, it has proven to be successful in its niche.“ He adds: “We saw huge interest in and demand for Kissabel® pre-season – even to the extent that we couldn’t meet all of our customers’ requests.”
Kissabel® has the support of companies in Italy, where strong demand reflects the brand’s great promise. “We don’t see any problem with having larger volumes available in future, because its uniqueness makes it unrivalled,” explains Andrea Fedrizzi, Marketing and Communications Manager at Italian group Melinda.
Together, Melinda and South Tyrolean companies VIP and VOG have planted around 17ha in Italy with Kissabel® Rouge apples. They expect to sell a combined volume of 300 tonnes this year, doubling that in 2022 before reaching 900 tonnes in 2023. Meanwhile, Piedmont-based supplier Rivoira will also begin planting another type of Kissabel® Rouge next year.
“I think it is very important to focus attention on their very distinctive tastes, which lend themselves to different uses and to tasting Kissabel® apples at all times of the day, and can win over consumers in different countries,” observes Fabio Zanesco, VIP’s Sales and Marketing Manager.
Also in France, Blue Whale’s commercial export director Marc Peyres is very optimistic about the brand’s prospects. “We are really happy to be working with this completely new and unique apple. They are amazing on the inside, they look good, and they taste good too.”