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   Stemilt Fast Facts Video Shows How Slow Start To Apple Season Boosted First-To-Harvest Varieties
by Stemilt Growers
Posted: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 9:03AM EST

WENATCHEE, Wash. – The saying “what a difference a year makes” rings true when looking at retail scan data results for the apple category in September 2017. Both apple volumes and dollars were down in September when compared to 2016, due to a wide gap between harvest timing.

“In 2016, we had a record early start for apple harvest in Washington State, while this year has run about 10 days later than normal on average. This results in a lag for apples at retail, as varieties that were on display in 2016 were still waiting to be picked in 2017. Fortunately, harvest is just about wrapped up and retailers will have a bevy of promotions opportunities on apples as they head into the winter months,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager. 

According to Stemilt’s latest Fast Facts video, which analyzes Nielsen Fresh Facts data from September 2017, apples made up 5.9 percent of total produce department sales on average in the U.S., a figure that dipped from 6.5 percent in September 2016. Apple categories were down regionally, with the central region dropping a percent year-over-year but still coming in as the leading region with an apple category contribution of 7 percent. 

The top 5 apple varieties in September 2017 were: Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith. SweeTango® was the club variety that made it into the top 10, with volume up 9.3 percent from 2016, and dollars up 13.3 percent. The average retail price of SweeTango® was $2.42 per pound. 

“SweeTango® was a hit in September, not only because it was an apple that harvested in August, but also because it’s moved beyond being a ‘new, hard-to-find apple’ and entered into being one that shoppers are now seeking out,” said Shales. 

The average retail price of all apples in September 2016 was $1.66 per pound, and not surprisingly, Honeycrisp led retails for all apples at a whopping $2.72 per pound. 

Approximately 64.3 percent of apples were sold bulk, while the remaining 35.7 percent were sold in bags. Two out of every three bags of apples sold in the U.S. in September was a three-pound bag, a trend that will likely stay around given this year’s smaller fruit size on apples.

“Sizing is smaller on apples than in 2016, which presents plenty of promotion opportunities on bags. Stemilt’s popular line of 3lb. pouch bags, called Lil Snappers®, markets intent to shoppers and doesTwo so in their preferred purchase size. We expect a big year for this brand, which is available in a full line of both conventional and organic varieties,” said Shales. 

Five-pound pouch bags offer retailers another great opportunity, especially as the holidays appear and people are using apples for baking, Shales said. Stemilt has an array of varieties available in its 5lb. Apple Lover pouch bags, as well as holiday candy cane themed bags for select varieties come December. 

“September was only the very beginning of apple season,” said Shales. “As the months continue, we expect to see club apples, including our signature variety Piñata®, emerge into these category stats, and anticipate category share, volume, and dollars to align closer to last season now that crop has been harvested.” 

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About Stemilt

Stemilt Growers is a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company based in Wenatchee, Washington. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt is the leading shipper of sweet cherries and one of the nation’s largest suppliers of organic tree fruits. Stemilt has also demonstrated a commitment to sustainable agriculture and social responsibility since 1989, when founder Tom Mathison launched the company’s Responsible Choice program. For more information about Stemilt, visit www.stemilt.com and follow Stemilt on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and You Tube.

Source: Stemilt Growers


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