WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Polar Vortex blasted many U.S. states in January 2019, but it didn’t hinder apple category performance according to Stemilt Growers and their latest Fruit Tracker™ Fast Facts video analysis. Dollars were up on apples sold in January while the volume was similar to January 2018.
Apples made up 8.4 percent of fresh produce sales in January 2019, up 1.8 percent from January 2018. Regionally, the Midwest beat the average with apples accounting for 9.7 percent of fresh produce sales. The remaining three regions fell below the U.S. average. Apples sold for $1.62 per pound on average in January 2019, a penny increase over the same time last year.
“Apple movement continued its brisk pace in the New Year despite some frigid temperatures late in the month,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager. “Fruit quality and key varieties in the right size profiles continue to fuel bulk promotions and category performance. With a smaller U.S. apple crop this year when compared to last, we expect to see average retails to continue to creep up in the spring and summer months.”
Four out of 10 apples sold were Gala or Honeycrisp in January 2019, with Fuji, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith rounding out the top five apple varieties. Gala held the top position and saw dollars increase a whopping 17.3 percent when compared to January 2018. Not surprisingly, Honeycrisp commanded the highest average retail price of top ten apples at $2.43 per pound.
“Honeycrisp performance shows it’s still the consumer favorite and sells at premium prices, but the performance of Gala and month-over-month increases in Fuji volumes are great signs of a healthy apple category and strong promotion execution at retail,” said Shales.
As spring nears and apple supplies continue to be relatively tight, retailers can look to certain varieties and size profiles for promotion opportunities. Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady® are all promotable apples in several size profiles and with great qualities. Jumbo Red Delicious offer the best value opportunity this spring, while club varieties like Stemilt’s signature apple, Pinata®, will continue to excite shoppers with new, exciting flavors.
“The spring months not only bring warmer temperatures, but also some of the best apple qualities of the season. It’s a great time to continue the forward momentum on apples with steady promotions that focus on flavors and quality,” said Shales.
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.