Not everyone knows this, but the University of Minnesota is recognized as one of the country's top apple breeding and genetics research programs. They began the apple breeding program in the late 1800s to develop cold hardy apples that are both high quality and high yielding.

According to the university, their apple breeding program has 20,000 to 25,000 apple trees in various stages of evaluation at any given time. Most of the breeding and evaluation takes place at the Horticultural Research Center in Victoria. Their best apples undergo evaluation in commercial orchards in Minnesota and throughout the world as well as at other research centers across the U.S. before being released to the public.

Their researchers consider the following traits when selecting apples for the breeding process:

  • Texture: crispness, juiciness, firmness
  • Flavor: sweetness, acidity, aroma (flavor)
  • Appearance: color, finish, shape
  • Fruit size
  • Storage ability
  • Disease resistance: apple scab, fire blight
  • Productivity
  • Annual bearing
  • Premature fruit drop
  • Tree form
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Apple breeding doesn't happen overnight. In fact, from the initial cross to the release date, it takes on average 20-30 years for a new apple variety to hit the market. The University of Minnesota has brought 28 apples to the public thus far, with the most popular being the Honeycrisp, which was developed in 1960.

However, they are close to bringing their 29th variety of apple to the public and this one could give the famed Honeycrisp a run for its money. That would make sense since the Honeycrisp is a part of the new apple.

KARE11 YouTube
KARE11 YouTube

After 22 years in the making, the Kudos™ brand MN33 apple variety should be available to the public in 2026.

The University of Minnesota says the Kudos™ brand MN33 produces "attractive, well-colored fruit with a unique combination of traits including an excellent crisp, juicy texture and a sweet, well-balanced flavor with occasional tropical overtones."

Kudos™ was developed by crossing the U of M hits Honeycrisp and Zestar!®, making it a sister to the popular SweeTango® apple.

Here are the traits of the new apple:

  • Excellent crisp, juicy texture and a sweet, well-balanced flavor with occasional tropical overtones
  • Attractive, red fruit
  • Fruit stores for up to 5 months in common storage
  • Ripens late September; similar to Honeycrisp or up to 1 week later

According to KARE11 in Minneapolis, University of Minnesota apple breeder David Bedford says that eating a Kudos apple is like having a "tropical party in your mouth." He goes on to say "It has the crisp, juicy texture of Honeycrisp and the rich flavor of Zestar! but with a slight tropical twist."

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