WENATCHEE, Wash. – Apple sales were up nearly five percent year over year from November 7, 2020 to January 23, 2021 while volume stayed relatively flat according to the latest 12 weeks of Nielsen retail scan data. Stemilt’s marketing director, Brianna Shales, and communications manager, Katie Harmon, analyze the most recent data during Fast Facts: The Cast video analysis with the data conveying there is plenty of promotional opportunity retailers can capitalize on in the coming months.
“Apple sales made up 6.1 percent of total produce department sales during the last 12 weeks,” says Shales. “Of that, Honeycrisp, Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji and Red Delicious made up the top five, with Honeycrisp accounting for 29 percent of apple category dollars, but only 21 percent of the pounds, which makes sense for an apple that does and should sell for a premium.”
Shales explains that as we round into 2021, we expect to see strength on apple pricing, including Honeycrisp, which is great for retail dollars. Fuji is another opportunity retailers can take advantage of with the data showing in the last 12 weeks the U.S. sold three percent less compared to 2020, although dollars were up slightly.
“Fuji is a year-round apple and a staple for apple promotions,” states Shales. “During the upcoming spring and summer months, Fuji along with Pink Lady® brand apples are excellent choices due to their refreshing flavor profiles and World Famous quality.”
Stemilt currently offers a great selection of Pink Lady® apples with a range of sizes. With the apple last to harvest and getting a later start than most, it is the perfect promotional opportunity. Pink Lady® bags make up nearly 43 percent of sales and 57 percent of volumes, however, there is a lot of opportunity on bulk and even at promotional pricing, selling per pound via bulk is a great dollar generator.
“Stemilt has plenty of option for retailers looking to boost their Pink Lady® numbers, including the Apple Lover 5lb pouch bag and the Farm + Famous paper tote bag to support bulk sizes,” says Shales. “With upcoming holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day and Cinco de Mayo, retailers should offer plenty of fresh, delicious flavors to delight consumers. Plus, snacking and eating meals at home continue to trend up, so now is the time to promote apples as we head into the spring months.”
Organics is another area of opportunity for retailers, with organic apples making up 16 percent of apple sales and 12 percent of volumes. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, Shales encourages retailers to bring attention to their organic selection.
“Earth Day is an excellent time to highlight the organic category and push multi-variety organic ads. Turn to Stemilt’s Artisan Organics™ program for high quality, flavorful organic apples that will certainly leave consumers delighted,” says Shales.
The last eight weeks of Cosmic Crisp® movement was also covered within the analysis. As a new and emerging variety, Cosmic Crisp® ranked 14th in the top 20 apples varieties in the U.S. with the highest average retail price. On the West Coast, it was ninth in the category.
“The season will go longer with increased varieties and promotions are ramping up significantly,” states Shales. “It’s super important we work together to ensure that shoppers are introduced to Cosmic Crisp® during these unconventional times. Retailers should ensure signage is up, nice displays are front and center, and they are exploring creative ways to increase trial. That will lead to a great shift in movement which will be reflective in the next 12 weeks of data.”
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.