Red-fleshed apples on sale at Tesco
A rare variety of red-fleshed apple is to go on sale to UK shoppers for the first time next week.
Cultivated by a Worcestershire fruit tree specialist, the apples, named Raspberry Ripple to reflect their unusual appearance, will hit the shelves at three branches of Tesco on Monday.
The supermarket giant hopes trial sales of the "stunning" apple at three sites in London - including its Kensington Superstore - will pave the way for its introduction across a wider area next year.
The naturally-occurring variety was discovered by chance growing in an orchard near Hereford nine years ago and has been developed by Tenbury Wells-based fruit tree nursery Frank Matthews Ltd.
The nursery was contacted almost a decade ago by a local grower who informed them he had an extremely rare red-fleshed apple, and cuttings were then grafted on to rootstock to create an initial batch of 100 trees.
Growers are now satisfied the red flesh is consistent in apples from each of the trees, which are said to produce fruit with a hint of the flavour of raspberries.
Although trees yielding a different variety of red-fleshed apple have been available in the UK since 2010 from a Devon-based seed company, no red-fleshed varieties have previously been available through supermarkets.
Frank Matthews' owner, Nick Dunne, said: "When I first saw the red flesh I thought right away that this could be big news in the apple industry and that has been borne out by the interest we are now getting from growers around the country.
"Tesco will have the first batch to ever go on sale in the UK and we hope that if they are well received by shoppers that we could establish the variety as a top-seller very soon."
Hailing Raspberry Ripple as a fantastic addition to Tesco's existing range of 21 British apple varieties, the supermarket's apple buyer, Gill Getty, said: "Not only do they look amazing but, as the name implies, they have a hint of a raspberry flavour to add to their generally tangy, sweet flavour."