The Red Delicious will lose its reign as the most popular apple grown in the U.S. this year after more than half a century at No. 1.
The U.S. Apple Association, which advocates on behalf of 7,500 apple growers and 400 companies in the apple business, is projecting that the Gala apple will take over the top spot, as consumers prefer its “taste, texture and sweetness.” Gala already is the most popular variety sold in the U.S., followed by Red Delicious, according to the association.
In response to shifting preference, the U.S. will grow some 52 million bushels of Gala apples in 2018, up 5.9 percent from a year earlier. Gala originated in New Zealand in the 1930s.
Red Delicious production, meanwhile, is expected to tumble 10.7 percent to around 51 million bushels in 2018, the trade group predicts. Red Delicious will still account for about half of U.S. apple exports.
The Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp apples are expected to rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in U.S. production.