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   US Market Shows Its Love Affair With Honeycrisp Apples
by Stemilt Growers
Posted: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 9:03AM EST

WENATCHEE, Wash. – The slower start to Washington State’s apple harvest continued to negatively impact both dollars and volumes in October 2016, when compared to same month the year prior. However, the apple category’s total contribution to the average U.S. produce department jumped an entire percent – from 5.9 to 6.9 percent – in just one month’s time, making it clear that apple season has arrived. This and other key apple category insights can be found in Stemilt’s latest Fruit Tracker Fast Facts video.

“October is National Apple Month and the latest set of Nielsen retail scan data tells us that retailers definitely got behind the celebration, even though the later harvest in Washington State delayed promotions for a few key varieties. Though we are lagging on performance from October 2016, when apples harvested in Washington State earlier than ever before, apples were retailing at higher prices year-over-year, led by higher volumes of the high priced Honeycrisp apple,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager.

Honeycrisp trailed only Gala in terms of volume sold, and was the top variety when it came to dollars sold accounting for 27.7 percent of apple dollars thanks to its $2.48 per pound average retail price. Fuji, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious rounded out the top five apple varieties.

“It’s clear that Honeycrisp is the sought after apple, and retailers must continue to dedicate space and promotions towards this shopper favorite,” said Shales. “That being said, it can’t be the only apple promoted as there are many shoppers looking for a value. Running multiple apple varieties on promotion, in a price range that fits every shopper, is the best way to keep your apple category healthy.”

SweeTango® was the top club apple variety in October 2017 with volume increase of 10.9 percent over last October. Like Honeycrisp, SweeTango® enjoyed a high average retail price at $2.22 per pound.

Regionally, the Central region took the lion’s share of apples, well above the national average at 8.2 percent of total produce department dollars. The East was right on the national average at 6.9 percent while the West and South regions fell short. All regions were down in apple dollars from last October, again due to the later crop in Washington State.

The percentage of apples sold in bags was up nearly 3 percentage points from last October, accounting for 35.8 percent of apple sales. This can be attributed to an increase of smaller sized apples from Washington State, as well as typical bag supplies from other regions. The average retail price for bags in October 2017 was $1.45 per pound, up 7 cents from last year. The average price for bulk apples in October 2017 was $1.71 per pound, just 5 cents higher than last year.

“With apples from Washington State one to two sizes smaller on average when compared to last year, it’s great to see retailers put more emphasis on bags this early in the season. The higher retail price on bulk fruit will likely remain this year, and the opportunities for promotion will be centered on bags in order to drive more volume through the register,” said Shales.

Three and five pound bags continued to be the dominant package sizes, with a combined 75 percent of bag volume and 71 percent of bag dollars. The volume of two-pound bags was on the rise from last year, but average retails for two pound bags dropped 13 percent, or by 30 cents. If this trend continues, it could cause deflation in volume and dollars across the category as the months continue on.

“With tighter supplies on bulk fruit and the need to make up volume with bags, now is not the time to move down a size on bags. The three pound size matches well with the volume your once-a-week shopper would need, while five pound bags bring additional value to your category. Keeping the pedal down on Lil Snappers® 3lb. kid-size apple promotions, as well as Stemilt’s Apple Lover 5lb. bags is important as we look towards the New Year when healthy eating is top-of-mind for all shoppers,” said Shales.

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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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