True cost of apple production exposed

British Apples and Pears Limited calls for fairer returns.

For the first time, an independent analysis has exposed the real cost of production crisis facing UK apple growers.

The analysis, conducted by farm business consultants Andersons, reveals that it now costs £1.26 (median cost) to produce a kilo of British apples.

“I can’t think of a single apple grower that is making money.” Said British Apples & Pears Limited (BAPL) executive chair, Ali Capper. “The costs of labour, storage, haulage, tree planting and orchard maintenance have all increased. What hasn’t increased is the return to growers.

“This analysis confirms what, anecdotally, growers have been saying for months. UK apple growing just isn’t profitable at the moment. In fact, for most it’s loss making. When growers cannot afford to invest in new apple trees and are grubbing orchards, the consequences are serious, not just for growers but also for the rural landscape and economy. We face biodiversity loss, lower returns to the treasury and poorer outcomes for consumers.

“No one wants to import more apples. It makes no sense from a carbon or water footprint perspective, and it diminishes UK food security. We need to see specific government support to address energy costs and labour shortages, and we urgently need fairer returns for growers from UK supermarkets to ensure the future of the British apple industry.”

BAPL points to a disconnect between the prices consumers are paying for apples and the return to growers. According to ONS data, the lowest consumer price of apples increased 17% between September 2021 and September 2022[1]. However, UK apple growers only reported a 0.8% increase in what supermarkets pay them for their fruit[2].

Despite significant cost of production increases, British apples remain highly affordable. With a single British apple costing around 34p to UK shoppers, they are less than half the price of a chocolate bar and offer huge nutritional benefits.


Notes to editors: 

The BAPL asks of government are:

  • To add grower businesses to the ETII (Energy and Trade Intensive Industries) scheme list to lessen the impact of rising energy prices on cold storage of fruit.
  • To support the development of renewables (wind and solar), especially the storage of renewable energy to help mitigate the energy cost increases facing growers and reduce CO2 emissions.
  • To remove the limit on the number of seasonal workers allowed into the UK and increase the current permit to a nine-month visa.

The BAPL asks of retailers are:

  • A reset on returns to recognise the unprecedented cost of production inflation.
  • Long-term partnerships and prioritisation of British apples and pears over imports to enable growers to invest in the future with confidence.
  • To work with growers to reinvigorate the category with in-store and online ‘theatre’, and packaging that celebrates the many benefits of British apples.

About Andersons’ Gala Cost of Production 2023 Analysis:

Data gathered from UK Gala apple growers (whose combined output represents over 50% of all UK production). Briefing paper completed 29th March 2023. Cost of production includes establishment/end of life, growing and harvest, storage and marketing, and overhead costs. View the full report.



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