Coryphée: the new Boni apple with bite
Coryphée and Magic Star. Remember these names. They are the names of two unique apple varieties, grown exclusively for Colruyt Group. The latest Magic Star harvest is now available under our own brand Boni Selection, while Coryphée will arrive in our shops in September. What's so special about these apples? Jan Schockaert, fruit purchasing manager at Colruyt Group, sheds some light by answering our five questions.
What are Magic Star and Coryphée?
Jan: "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?
Jan: "We want to offer our customers top quality fruit that meets their requirements in terms of taste, texture and origin. 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 for their entire harvest. 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?
Jan: "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. Nets are installed in order to protect the trees against extreme weather (like hail or heatwaves)."
How do you ensure exclusivity?
Jan: "Through a system of royalties. We pay growers a licence and we cover the costs of managing the project and marketing expenses related to the sale of the product. The growers invest in purchasing apple trees, production and harvesting. Above all, we guarantee our growers to purchase their complete produce, even the downgraded fruit, like apples that are too big or too small or have some peel damage."
What exactly happens to this downgraded fruit?
Jan: "The apples are harvested in September and then sorted out. However, the fruit unsuited for sale does not end up in the wastebasket. We process the Magic Star apples into two Boni Selection products: apple cake and apple juice. The cake is available all year round. The apple juice is in stores by the second half of January, while stocks last. As a test, we also put apple chips on the shelves and these were sold out in no time. We are working on apple sorbet too. In short: there’s almost no waste."
When can customers try out these apples?
Jan: "The Magic Star is available at stores of Colruyt, OKay, OKay Compact and Spar Colruyt Group. The 2019 harvest was particularly successful, yielding sweet, juicy, aromatic and crunchy apples. From December to the end of June, these apples were packed per 6 or 8 and sold in the fruit department. At the end of the European season (late June, early July) we also offered loose apples."
"The first harvest of the Coryphée will arrive in our stores from September. We estimate that we’ll be selling around 140 tons of this variety. And in December we’ll start selling the Magic Star again. We expect a doubling of the volume with the new harvest. This way, we achieve our initial goal: to prolong the Belgian apple season and to reduce the import of foreign fruit."
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.