NEWS: Two new Malling Fruits strawberry varieties launched at Fruit Focus

21 Jul 2021
Malling Ace strawberry
Two new strawberry varieties bred by the team at NIAB EMR have been officially launched.

MallingTM Ace and MallingTM Vitality, expected to reinforce the UK’s reputation for soft fruit production, are the result of the strawberry breeding team, led by NIAB EMR’s Adam Whitehouse, and support of the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club.

Having recently received national media interest, MallingTM Ace is an everbearer that matches the quality of the best June strawberries. It first crops in May with production peaking in August, and concluding in September. With a potential of 1.5 kg per plant, MallingTM Ace could support the development of vertical or urban farming as the industry looks towards novel production systems required in the future.

MallingTM Ace also matches the quality fruit throughout the year that of the best June strawberries, with a high average Brix of 9.2. First selected in 2015 and trialled in 2017, the success of its commercial trials in 2019 has given NIAB EMR, and its recently launched Malling Fruits division, the confidence to fast-track MallingTM Ace to market.

As a mid-season June-bearer, MallingTM Vitality when trialled produced an average of 98% of Class 1 fruit and attractive berries with uniform skin colour. It is also recognised by its enhanced disease resistance to crown rot, mildew, and Verticillium wilt. The variety is expected to build on the commercial success of MallingTM Centenary, which was launched in 2013 with more than 70 million plants being sold a year.

Professor Mario Caccamo, Managing Director of NIAB EMR, said: “Each of these two new varieties offer a real opportunity for growers to meet the increased demand for high quality British-grown strawberries throughout the season as a whole.”

Adam Whitehouse added: “We are already working with partner propagators to grow the variety and make available plants for growers soon and confident that within a couple of years we will see MallingTM Ace and MallingTM Vitality on supermarket shelves.

“Thanks to our track record in strawberry breeding, and our longstanding partnership with industry, we are delighted to bring MallingTM Ace and MallingTM Vitality which offer growers with a commercial opportunity to meet consumer demand for great tasting and attractive looking fruit.”

The development of both Malling™ Ace and Malling™ Vitality was funded and supported by the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club whose members are: AHDB Ltd., Asplins Ltd., BerryGardens Growers Ltd, BerryWorld Varieties Ltd, DPS Ltd., Farm Fresh PO Ltd., Mack Multiples Ltd., Meiosis Ltd., NIAB EMR Ltd., The Greenery BV.

Both varieties were unveiled at Fruit Focus, the country’s leading technical event for the fruit industry held at NIAB EMR