Press Release

Electricity costs up 133% for UK apple growers

A survey of British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) growers has revealed that they are paying more than twice as much for electricity in December 2022 than in the same month in 2021 and 2020.

The median price paid by UK apple growers per kilowatt hour was 15p in 2020, 16p in 2021 and 35p in December 2022.

According to BAPL, the top fruit industry urgently needs government support to ensure growers stay afloat in the face of these extraordinary cost pressures.

“Our industry has invested heavily in renewable energy and state-of-the-art storage technology, but we still need to buy significant quantities of electricity to keep our fruit cool after harvest.” Explained Ali Capper, BAPL Executive Chair. “These electricity price rises are really hurting UK growers.”

BAPL is calling on UK government to include the top fruit industry in its Energy and Trade Intensive Industries (ETII) scheme, so that growers would qualify for additional support with energy bills. Growers who took out new contracts in the Autumn/Winter are now trapped in high-cost contracts which are not sustainable and so far, the government has not made the necessary changes.

“We can now supply home-grown apples all year round, which is great for low food miles and UK food security, but we need to store them until consumers want them.” Continued Capper. “There is a real risk that without some additional government support to cover higher storage costs, growers may simply decide not to grow the delicious and nutritious apples in the first place. And that would be a disaster for the biodiversity of our countryside, our food security and the health of our nation.”

For more information on the use of renewable energy in British apple and pear orchards and packhouses, see: Sustainability: A Growing Focus for British apples and pears – a report by Professor Louise Manning from the Royal Agricultural University.

Media coverage for this news included:

Press Release

Aldi sold more British apples than any other UK supermarket in February 2023

For the first time this season, Aldi has bought more British apples from UK growers than any other UK retailer. The latest data released by British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) shows Aldi at the top of the chart, ahead of Tesco in second place, Sainsbury’s in third and Lidl in fourth.


“This is the first time this season that Aldi has been at the top of the sales table.” Explained BAPL executive chair, Ali Capper. “Lidl beat all retailers in September with the most British apples sold and are similarly outperforming against their market share, buying 15% of all British apples sold between August 2022 to January 2023, when their market share is just 7%. Tesco had been in the top spot since October 2022, but now Aldi is leading the way. In February, Aldi bought 22% of all British apples our growers sold to UK supermarkets, compared to their overall grocery market share of just 9.4%.”

This month, BAPL also released its four-year British apple sales data. The data aggregates monthly sales from August to January each year, from 2019 up to the current year and compares it to the retailers’ overall grocery market share (red line on following chart, source Kantar).

The four-year data shows which supermarkets are consistently under-performing or over-performing in terms of British apple sales, compared to their market share. Red lines above the green bars indicate that retailer is selling a lower percentage of British apples than their grocery market share.

The most recent BAPL sales data (February 2023) published on the BAPL website shows that Asda continues to be the least supportive retailer of British apples with a grocery market share of 14.3% selling just 6.3% of British apples. The UK’s two biggest retailers, Tesco (grocery market share of 27.3%) sold 20.8% of British apples and Sainsbury’s (grocery market share of 15.2%) sold 14.7% of British apples.

“We know that consumers want British if at all possible and with such great quality fruit available from British growers, we hope to see even more support from UK supermarkets.”

Monthly UK apple sales data can be viewed at New monthly sales data is published in the third week of the following month.

Press Release Research

British Apples & Pears Limited commissions vital crop research

As soon as it became clear that the AHDB was withdrawing from horticultural crop research, the British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) board acted quickly to establish an alternative arrangement.

The BAPL R&D Group now works actively to enable growers to meet the challenges of the future. The Group is chaired by Rob Saunders and its members include top fruit growers and agronomists.

The Group has agreed a focus on projects that directly address the issues that become more challenging as the crop protection landscape changes. These include woolly aphid, hard-bodied insects, and codling moth. On the disease front, the immediate focus will be on scab and canker. 

The first call for crop research proposals went out in early 2023, and the BAPL R&D Group received shortlisted presentations on 8 March 2023.

Research proposals were evaluated for funding by the BAPL R&D Group to ensure they offered value for money and had a realistic chance of making a difference for growers. As a result, some proposals were not accepted.

The research projects the BAPL R&D Group intends to fund from this first call are to be undertaken by NIAB EMR and ADAS.

NIAB EMR will undertake work on woolly aphid, blossom weevil (anticipating the loss of acetamiprid), codling (in anticipation of the loss of indoxacarb), scab (anticipating the loss of dodine and captan) and canker.

ADAS will undertake work on woodlice, which has become a significant, though localised problem in recent years.

BAPL R&D work will be funded by a voluntary subscription collected at point of sale by BAPL. The proceeds from this subscription also contribute to the EAMU programme run by the newly established Horticultural Crop Protection Ltd.

In addition to raising a modest R&D subscription from its members, BAPL Ltd has been successful in obtaining additional sources of funding to tackle other challenges. For example, it has already started an Innovate UK-funded project (Taking Apple Production to Net Zero), which is primarily a biochar-focused project. BAPL is also seeking other sources of funding for tackling issues such as reducing storage costs and rootstock breeding work. 

“The demise of AHDB research is both a threat and an opportunity for the top fruit industry.” Explained Rob Saunders, BAPL R&D Group Chair.

“The threat was that without AHDB research the sector would have no mechanism to tackle the pest and disease challenges brought about by regulatory change, climate instability and the arrival of new pests, along with the challenge of our journey to net zero. 

“The opportunity was to create a highly focused, grower-led team to identify priorities, invite research tenders, and commission research that has a strong chance of making a difference for top fruit growers.”

The BAPL R&D Group is open to top fruit growers who would like to input into the Group’s priorities and ‘kick the tyres’ of projects before they go ahead. Anyone interested should contact Rob Saunders directly .


Press Release

Why some British apple and pear orchards are being dug up

The BBC (The One Show and BBC Kent) recently reported on how apple farmers in Kent are being forced to dig up their orchards. Understandably, this has concerned British apple lovers. We want to explain a little about why apple orchard planting is on hold.

Why are orchards being dug up?

Growers renew their oldest orchards most years as part of their natural lifecycle. It’s absolutely normal for apple growers to replant their orchards every 12 to 18 years.

What’s not normal is to dig up apple trees and not replace them. That’s what’s different this year. British apple growers normally plan to plant 1 to 1.5 million trees every year. However, this year many, many apple growers in the UK have paused their investment in replanting.  In fact, this year growers said they planned to plant only 500,000 new apple trees and they have since cancelled a third of those tree orders.

Why are orchards not being replaced?

Very simply, growers cannot afford to invest in new orchards because they have such low returns on their fruit. Last year a report by Promar for the NFU found that inflation for growers was running at around 23%. In contrast, growers only received on average a 0.8% increase in their returns from selling apples to supermarkets. Growers cannot afford to replant their orchards. They’re doing their best to survive.

What’s the impact of orchards not being replanted?

The immediate concern is the loss of British-grown fruit and the biodiversity loss. Modern orchards are planted with wildflowers to encourage pollinators. Growers are actively connecting with nature in their orchards and without the investment they need, orchard biodiversity is at risk.

In the longer term – next five years or so – a lack of apple orchard planting (renewal) now will mean fewer British apples in the supermarkets for shoppers. At a time when we should all be buying closer to home, for environmental reasons, and when healthy eating is high on the agenda, this would be a terrible outcome. We have the ideal climate for growing the best apples in the world and we have the potential to grow many more than we are now, but we must protect the industry now to enable that to happen.

Why can’t the apple trees be left in the ground

Orchards take lots of maintenance; trees need pruning, wildflower leys need to be maintained, apples need to be picked. All of this is fine when growers are receiving a fair return, but they cannot afford to maintain orchards that need to be replaced and are at the end of their natural life.

What’s the solution?

In the short term, growers need fairer rewards from the supply chain. They need a higher return to cover the inflation in costs they’re experiencing. In the longer term, growers need long-term contracts with supermarkets and certainty. With assurance that they will receive a fair return for their produce, growers can invest in the new trees they need to replenish their orchards.

You can do your bit to help too. You can support British growers, by buying British apples from your local supermarket.

Press Release

British Apples & Pears to publish monthly sales data

British apple retailer of the year to be announced in September 2023

British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) will start publishing monthly apple sales data on its website from February 2023.

The data, aggregated from BAPL member returns, will show the tonnages of British apples harvested from the 2022 apple crop, sold by growers to British supermarkets. It will reveal which UK supermarket is buying the most British apples from UK growers.

“British retailers say they want to support British, and this data will reveal those retailers that really are buying British.” Explained BAPL executive chair, Ali Capper. “We know from previous data that Aldi, for example, sold more British apples than any other supermarket in the year ending July 2022. We are now well into the sales year for the 2022 British apple crop and with this new monthly data we’ll have a much more current picture of British apple sales by supermarket.”

The monthly BAPL data will be aggregated at the end of the growing year (in late Summer 2023) to enable BAPL to announce its British apple retailer of the year.

“It’s going to be fascinating to see which supermarket comes out on top this season,” said Capper. “It’s so important all our supermarkets get behind British farmers and our wonderful British apples. We know that consumers want British if at all possible. When we have such wonderful fruit available in good quantities, that will store well, there really is no reason to look overseas.”

The first monthly UK apple sales data can be viewed at

New monthly sales data will be published in the third week of the following month. For example, February 2023 British apple sales data will be published during week commencing 20th March 2023.