The legendary Red Delicious apple has finally been replaced as America’s favorite apple. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s taken this long.
After enjoying 50 years as America’s most-grown apple, the Red Delicious has finally been overthrown—and goodness gracious, has it been a long time coming.
The Gala apple will likely take the No. 1 spot this year, the U.S. Apple Association announced last month. Red Delicious will come in second, while Granny Smith, Fuji, and Honeycrisp round out the Top 5.
“The rise in production of newer varieties of apples aimed at the fresh consumption domestic market has caused demand for Red Delicious to decline,” according to Mark Seetin, USApple director of regulatory and industry affairs. “However, Red Delicious is important in the export market, where it makes up roughly half of our apple exports.”
Gala production is estimated to jump from 49.5 million units in 2017 to 52.4 million in 2018. Meanwhile, Red Delicious production is expected to decrease from 57.9 million in 2017 to 51.7 million in 2018. Gala, which originated in New Zealand in the 1930s, is popular among growers because of its relative ease in production. U.S. Apple attributes Gala’s popularity among consumers to its “taste, texture and sweetness.” With all due respect to Red Delicious, it’s hard to deny that it leaves something to be desired in the taste and texture departments.
The apple industry icon originated at an Iowa orchard in 1880. Twelve years later, the apple won a competition intended to find a replacement for the “Ben Davis,” an extremely popular apple cultivar at the time. The apple continued to rise in popularity, eventually securing its “Red Delicious” name in 1914.
Though sweeter apple varieties have been gaining popularity in recent decades, the Red Delicious has consistently held tight to its crown.
Until this year, that is.
Honeycrisp also made a well-deserved leap on 2018’s list, as well, knocking Golden Delicious out of the No. 5 spot.
Americans are making it very clear: They like their apples sweet and crisp, quite unlike Gala’s grainy predecessor.