5 questions about Magic Star and Coryphée
Magic Star and Coryphée. Remember these names. They are the names of two new apple varieties, grown exclusively for Colruyt Group. What's new about these apples? What makes them stand out? Jan Schockaert, fruit purchasing manager at Colruyt Group, sheds some light by answering our five questions.
What are Magic Star and Coryphée?
They are both new apple varieties, the result of co-creation at different levels. Firstly, with breeders who specialise in developing new varieties. Magic Star was created by Fresh Forward, which is supported by the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, while Coryphée was created by Zouk sprl. Secondly, with our customers, since these two varieties were selected following taste tests by a panel comprising the group's customers. Finally, there are no apples without fruit growers. To address this issue, we contacted our three most loyal suppliers: Neven Fruits Waremme, Wolfcarius Markegem and Gebroeders Bangels Gingelom.
What is special about these apples?
We want to offer our customers top quality fruit that meets their requirements in terms of taste and texture. And we also want these new varieties to offer specific characteristics such as resistance to the Belgian soil and climate, and environmentally-friendly growing requirements. Finally, having temporary exclusivity in Belgium means we can place them on the market within a strict and controllable framework. We might justifiably refer to triple added value, allowing producers to receive a fair price. That is an important aspect in making a sector sustainable over the long term.
How is their cultivation environmentally-friendly and how does it promote consumer health?
Our producers use a low-residue version of conventional farming methods. You might call it an intermediary step towards organic apple cultivation. Specifically, crops are first treated in accordance with conventional farming standards to combat any diseases that attack orchards, such as scab. Then, during the second part of the season, these treatments are performed in accordance with organic farming standards. The result: apples that contain very little or no pesticides.
How do you ensure exclusivity?
Through a system of royalties. We pay breeders a licence and we cover the costs of managing the project and marketing expenses related to the sale of the product. And the growers invest in purchasing apple trees and production. We have also made sure that our partners are able to take back any downgraded fruit. We are responsible for processing this, to make juice, for example.
When can customers in Colruyt Group stores try out these apples?
Some lucky customers have already tried Magic Star as we released the first harvest for sale in OKay and OKay Compact stores on 14 February 2018. This first harvest was, of course, limited - around 15 tonnes - due to the sequencing of the planting of the apple trees and the poor weather conditions last spring. For the first large harvest marketable in all our food stores, that is, Colruyt, OKay and Spar, you will have to wait until 2019. Coryphée will reach the shelves a year later.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.