Cosmic Crisp Apple Sales Soar, Setting New Records

YAKIMA, Wash. — Cosmic Crisp® apples continue to set sales records, driving strong overall growth for the apple category.  Nielsen data released by Proprietary Variety Management (PVM) reveal volume soared by 89% year over year and moved Cosmic Crisp® up to the #7 best-selling apple varieties nationally. For the period, Cosmic Crisp® was one of only two apple varieties in the top 10 generating volume growth.

The PVM review covers sales from September 2022 through August 2023.  The data shows that Cosmic Crisp® was one of only a handful of varieties generating category volume growth.  Overall, total apple category volume declined by 5.2% while total dollars were flat at +0.3%.

According to Kathryn Grandy, Chief Marketing Officer for PVM who leads consumer brand marketing of the apple, the sales data reflects strong repeat purchases of Cosmic Crisp®.  “The Nielsen data backs up the anecdotal reports we’ve been getting from our retail partners across the US,” said Grandy.  “The sales numbers tell a clear story. Consumers have not only discovered Cosmic Crisp® apples—they consistently come back to buy more.”

Grandy says the challenge for retailers is in managing a complex apple category that is loaded with new varietal choices. “Our category offers consumers so many great apple varieties.  The challenge for retailers is most newer varieties lack scale (volume) and sufficient consumer awareness to generate trial and repeat purchases. Cosmic Crisp® production is now sufficiently large and retailers can count on having supply in all seasons. This allows for everyday displays and promotions, which drives sales for everyone. Additionally, our consumer marketing efforts have proven to demonstrate healthy brand awareness, which is critical to our success.”

According to the Nielsen data, Cosmic Crisp® led category dollar increases among the top 10 best-selling apple varieties in the US. For the period, only Cosmic Crisp® (+94.9%), Envy (+15.9%), Granny Smith (+7.2%) and McIntosh (+1.8%) delivered increases in category dollar performance.

A recent national brand awareness study also performed by Nielsen’s Category Partners found that about one quarter of consumers (24%) have heard of Cosmic Crisp® apples. In the West, over one third of surveyed consumers knew of the brand. Among those who have tried Cosmic Crisp®, 9 out 10 rated the flavor better than other apples and 4 out of 5 rated the appearance, texture and juiciness of Cosmic Crisp® as better than other apples. 

In terms of regional performance, Grandy sees one of the strongest areas for Cosmic Crisp® growth in the Northeast. “Cosmic Crisp® is now the #7 best-selling apple in the West, Midwest and South, but only #11 in the Northeast. However, Cosmic Crisp® volume gains in the Northeast (+98%) were higher than any other region.  This is simply a function of lower retail distribution in the Northeast.  With more Northeast retailers stocking Cosmic Crisp®, distribution is expanding and we’re seeing great success for our retail partners and their consumers.”

Grandy added that organically grown Cosmic Crisp® brand apples have also been selling very well as new orchards have reached organic certification. “Cosmic Crisp® is now the #6 best-selling organic apple in the United States with volume up at retail by 388%.  Cosmic Crisp® was the only variety among these top 6 organic varieties that generated an increase in volume. This is great news for our retail partners that are looking to source the hottest-selling organic apple.”