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Tutti, an alternative for apple cultivation adapted to warm climates

This is the first result of the Hot Climate Partnership, a genetic improvement programme involving Plant & Food Research, Fruitfutur and IRTA, which represents a new breeding opportunity for the fruit sector.

The origin, present and future of Tutti and its improvement programme was one of the topics discussed at the Girona Gastronomic Forum.

One of the most notable consequences of climate change in Catalonia is the increase in temperatures. This is particularly evident in periods with extreme hot climates, which can reach up to 40 degrees and last for an increasingly longer period of time. These conditions can damage fruit crops such as apples, which need a milder climate with cooler periods and lower temperatures. For this reason, the constant research and work of the sector has created an apple variety prepared to adapt to this new reality: the Tutti.

It is not only an apple adapted to warm climates, but also of high quality. Sweet, crunchy, juicy and with a very light texture, it has become a new incentive for people to eat fruit and for using it in different gastronomic creations. This is how it was presented today by Josep Usall, Director General of IRTA, at the Girona Gastronomic Forum: “With the Tutti apple, new opportunities are opening up for Catalan producers who, thanks to scientific research, the collaboration of the producing companies and the support of the administration, can look forward to a brighter future for the fruit sector”.

The Tutti apple (commercial name of the HOT84A1 variety) is the fruit of more than 20 years of work in varietal improvement, and more than 100,000 valued trees. It is the first result of the Hot Climate Partnership breeding programme, which seeks to obtain fruit varieties adapted to hot climates; a collaborative programme between the Plant & Food Research centre in New Zealand, Fruitfutur (the association of the main fruit-producing companies in Catalonia: Nufri, Actel, Fruits de Ponent and IGP Manzana de Girona) and the Institute of Agri-Food Research and Technology, IRTA. Venturefruit is the strategic partner for the commercialisation of the varieties of the Hot Climate Partnership and in this case, owner of the Tutti brand.

Tutti was presented worldwide at the Fruit Logistica 2023 international exhibition in Berlin. During 2023, this apple variety has already started to be marketed, still with very small harvests and under the variety code (HOT84A1). There are currently around 100 hectares planted with this variety and in the near future it is expected to double the area and start marketing the apple under its commercial name.

Innovation and readiness of the fruit sector to face the challenges of the future

With the torrid summers of 2002, the fruit-growing sector in Catalonia began to see with concern how it was becoming increasingly difficult to achieve optimum quality in terms of colour, texture and aroma for the different varieties of apple and pear. Regularity, climatic variation and a certain intensity of cold weather are necessary for these fruits. This led to the creation of the Hot Climate Partnership, the world’s only varietal improvement programme designed to meet the challenge of producing quality apples and pears in hot climates.

The development of Tutti can be considered a success in terms of innovation for the sector. In fact, on 15th February, the Cerdà Institute awarded IRTA in recognition of its research with the Tutti variety, within the framework of the 7th edition of the Observatory of Innovation in Mass Consumption. “This is the first result of the programme, but we hope for many more successes to come,” says Joan Bonany, a leading researcher in fruit growing at IRTA.

This work is much needed in Catalonia, where the agri-food sector is of vital significance. In fact, Catalonia is the most important sweet fruit production area in Spain, which, in turn, is the 37th largest apple producer in the world. Almost 300,000 tonnes of apples are produced here every year, and 65% of the sweet fruit and citrus fruit grown is exported internationally, mainly to Germany, France, Italy, the UK and the Netherlands*.

* PRODECA data, 2021: The Catalan agri-food sector | Prodeca