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The English Apple Man


10th Jun 2022 - Sustainable V Unsustainable - Part 2

Following on from last week's Journal, The English Apple Man sets out the Unsustainable nature of Supermarket retail prices in face of cost inflation!


This season will be a determining factor in the future of 'home grown' apples!


The prices which have been squeezed over the last few years, are no longer sustainable!


Even before the recent 'rampant inflation' financial returns home to the grower were hampering investment in new orchards.



"Once older orchards are not replaced with new (more productive ones) the steady decline sets in!"



GALA - BIFGA Looking back to 2019!


"Pound-a-Pound the Galas"!!


It just so happened that that was the retail price (£2.20/kg) of loose British Gala apples in a major UK supermarket chain in late January 2019, but was that £1 shared out "fairly" between the various "links" in the supply chain? In other words: "Who

invested the most/least time and capital?"; "Who carried the most/least risk?"; and, "Who received

most/least of the retail price?".



Last week, The English Apple Man published data collected at the end of March (2022)



Below: Gala price summary at the end of March 2022




Below: Ali Capper


British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) recently held its annual trade event. Chaired by broadcaster and Countryfile presenter Charlotte Smith, the webinar featured a panel of British growers including Ali Capper, Executive Chair, British Apples and Pears!


During the webinar, BAPL spoke openly about the unprecedented labour and inflation issues facing the industry and the need for wider support from the supply chain to help growers in the face of these challenges. The panel stressed the need for growers to be able to make a profit in order to invest in the future of the crop and in sustainable farming to protect the industry and their environment.


This year, the British apple and pear season will officially begin on Monday 3 October to tie in with the strong consumer demand at that time for British apples and pears.



The promotional activity will focus on three key themes; heart health, affordability, and sustainability. Given the cost of living crisis, affordability is an important focus this year, with the apple being one of the best value-for-money fruits which stores excellently in the fridge, resulting in less food waste.


The webinar included a special message of support from Raymond Blanc. For the third year, the renowned French chef will be championing British apples for their taste and flavour, reinforcing the importance of buying British at the core of his messaging.


Ali Capper commented: "2022 is set to be one of the toughest ever years for growers and the webinar was an important opportunity for us to highlight the issues ahead and speak directly to the industry. The country is experiencing a hard time financially and the rate of inflation in costs is one that growers have not seen before in their lifetime. The good news is that we have the opportunity to build on self-sufficiency and increase the sales of dessert apples sold in the UK, so now is the time to work together, supporting growers and committing to the future of British apples.


Click on: BRITISH APPLES AND PEARS - UK Production


The English Apple Man visited a Supermarket this week and examples of retail GALA prices are demonstrated below.


Below: single Gala option at 30p an apple and right; Gala free flow x 4 at £1.50 = 37.5p per apple



Below: left & right; Royal Gala x 6 apples @ £1.60 = 1lb 10oz (720 grammes) 98p lb)



The apples bought by The English Apple Man this week were bought in Sainsburys and it must be clear that Sainsburys are very supportive of the British Growers and with Tesco sell by far the most volume of British apples.


The problem is exacerbated by the vicious price competition between the main Supermarkets, resulting in the low price received by the grower. The most disappointing retailer is ASDA which has reduced the sales of British Apples over the last few years!


Click on: BRITISH APPLES & PEARS - Supermarket share


Neither ALDI or LIDL appear individually the sales % data, (among others) but they have both been making inroads into the overall Supermarkets share!


The English Apple Man Comments:


Clearly the price is not much different to those quoted in the BIFGA study of 2019 and this will result in a reduction in Gala grown in the UK. How much is too much for the consumer? Would another 5p per apple affect sales? "Probably not" - but another 5p an apple would make all the difference!


Talking to a grower friend recently, one of his frustrations is not knowing what the price he will receive for his apples (price per kilo) until he has carried out the bulk of his production expenditure. With wages rising by 13.5 % from 1st April 2022 + 1.5% national insurance, he starts the season with labour costs increasing by 15%. The cost of everything else is rising by "leaps and bounds" - fertilizers, crop protection materials, et al.


So, Why is an apple so undervalued? When snacks are so much more by comparison!



Below: left; MARS bar @ 70p and right; KITKAT @ 70p



That is all for this week. In next week's Journal, the EAM will report on the BIFGA farm walk (held on Wednesday) and feature Chairman John Breach's - UPDATE ON ISSUES AFFECTING SOME BIFGA MEMBERS - MAY 2022


Take care


The English Apple Man