NEARLY TWO thirds (65%) of apples sold by the ‘big five’ UK supermarkets are imported, according to a recent Friends of the Earth (FoE) survey.

This compares to just over half (51%) in local greengrocers, which also sourced more varieties per store on average than Tesco and Asda, the survey found.

Tesco came out worst for sourcing UK-grown non-organic apples in the survey, with just 28% coming from the UK. By comparison, Somerfield stocked the most homegrown produce, with 42%.

“The big supermarkets are using their market power to source cheap produce around the world, pushing UK growers and local shops out of business,” said FoE food campaigner, Robin Webster.

“If this trend continues, British apples could end up as a niche market with the majority of apples coming from overseas.”

Just over half of supermarkets surveyed had organic apples on sale, but only 18% were from the UK, the survey also found. The majority (56%) were from outside the EU.

Key findings from the survey are shown in the table below (percentage of apple lines sourced – non-organic only):

Supermarket 

UK %

EU %

Non-EU %

Unknown %

Somerfield 

42 

25 

30

3

Sainsburys

40 

 25 

 33 

1

Morrisons

32 

29

38

>1

Asda

30

29

39

 2

Tesco

28 

44

26 

 2

Total 

  35 

31

32 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for more results from the FoE 2005 apple survey.