Rave Apples Push Category to New Heights

WENATCHEE, Wash. – While summer produce takes over grocery store shelves, Stemilt is prepping for the upcoming apple season and encouraging retailers to do the same. Stemilt’s Brianna Shales and Roger Pepperl take on Fast Facts The Cast to talk about Rave® apples, and how it can jumpstart apple categories in early August.

“Rave®’s unique timing does amazing things for the apple category,” states Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director. “Due to its Honeycrisp parentage, it brings a premium quality apple to the market weeks before other varieties come off the tree.”

Rave® is harvested in late July and brought to market starting in early August. This year, Stemilt projects its largest crop yet as more trees come into fruit bearing age. This gives retailers the opportunity to carry Rave® into October. Pepperl suggests that retailers run two Rave® ads via both print and digital formats. Retailers can start the apple crop with an August Rave® ad and follow with a second ad in September. This gives the apple category momentum as it heads into prime fall apple months.

“Rave® is in store for a limited time,” explains Pepperl. “And because of that, there is absolutely no time to waste when this apple hits the market. It has a high demand and incredible flavor profile, so consumers seek it out.”

In fact, Rave® apples help fill the void that many retailers see when Honeycrisp sales start to decrease and produce departments transition from summer to fall sets. According to Nielsen data, Rave® added an average of 48lbs. per store per week to an average U.S. produce department that’s already selling 854lbs. of apples per week from mid-August to the beginning of September. 

“Rave® is outrageously juicy with a refreshing snappy zing,” says Pepperl. “It has the same juicy bite as a Honeycrisp and carries the same quality. The data reinforces how it can fill Honeycrisp gaps, and bring a nice spark to apple category starting in August.”

Rave® has grown increasingly popular in the Midwest and East Coast regions. According to household panel information, 65% of Rave® apple sales came from households that weren’t buying apples during the August-September timeframe the year prior. Not only does this show that the apple is a hit among apple shoppers, but it also demonstrates the retailer’s work behind promotion efforts.

“Retailers that deploy the 4p’s of marketing with Rave® see great results,” explains Pepperl. “Rave® comes off the tree with great color, quality, and flavor. Build an impactful display with our high-graphic cartons, price Rave® to increase trial, and promote it twice in its short season to see great results.”

The same panel also suggested that Rave® can help bring a volume uplift to the category, since nearly 20% of households that purchase apples during August and September 2018 continued to purchase apples by adding or buying more Rave® in the same time frame in 2019.

“Not only did this apple leave the consumer with a delightful eating experience, but it has helped expand the apple category as a whole,” explains Pepperl.

Stemilt supports and promotes Rave® through various digital efforts, including a national digital PR campaign coming in August to increase brand awareness and drive trial. For the last three years, Stemilt has hosted various in-person events across the country, including an apple pop-up shop in New York City and a cross-country road trip last summer.

“We’re so excited about what Rave® has brought the apple category and will continue to bring in the future,” says Pepperl. “Between the premium quality, flavor profile and overall goodness of this variety, Rave® takes any retailer’s apple category to the next level.”


About Stemilt

Stemilt is a family-owned grower, packer, and shipper of tree fruit. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt’s mission is to cultivate people and delight consumers with its World Famous Fruits. Stemilt is a leader in sweet cherries and organic tree fruits, and a key supplier of apples and pears. The company stewards an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business through its Responsible Choice® program, which has been in place since 1989.  For more information about Stemilt, visit www.stemilt.com.