WENATCHEE, Wash. – This month’s Fruit Tracker’s Fast Facts: The Cast video analysis featuring Stemilt’s Roger Pepperl and Brianna Shales reveals that apple volumes and dollars were down year-over-year for a second time. The Nielsen retail scan data ending on November 21 shows volume is down 1.7 percent, indicating this may be an ongoing trend in the data this year.
“Now that all the apples have been harvested, we know that this is a shorter national crop compared to last year’s record,” explains Shales, Stemilt’s senior marketing manager. “If your volumes are reflective of the crop, you will want adjust retails and promote frequently to keep dollars high.”
Retailers will want to build the category by focusing on multi-variety promotions using core, top selling varieties.
Shales continues on that growers will also need to make up for lower production per acre so retailers should react through strong retails and multi-variety promotions to move volume at key times to build the category.
“It is crucial that retailers stay strategic with their promotions in the coming weeks and months to continue trending in the right direction,” explains Shales. “The good news is that the top 5 selling apples did see some positive movement, including Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Fuji all showing positive dollars and volume over last year.”
Red Delicious is down, however, is not a large part of the category domestically. Gala is another variety that needs work through promotion attention. It is the top volume apple in the U.S., and needs regular promotion. Shales explains that Stemilt’s bag programs are great vehicles for core varieties for shoppers who want to get in and out quickly, without sacrificing quality.
“Stemilt offers a variety of bag options including the Farm + Famous paper tote bag program and the Apple Lover 5lb. pouch bag,” explains Shales. “Using these bags as a way to offer bulk sizes will meet the consumer’s pandemic shopping habits.”
Shales continues, explaining that while bags can often be viewed as a value item, it is important that retailers match it with higher retails or bigger pack sizes. Packing organics in either of these brand bags will also work well.
“Packing our Artisan Organics™ apples in these two packs is another great way to utilize bags in your store,” explains Shales. “Both will move volume and increase basket size as organic shoppers enjoy the no-touch approach to bagged apples.”
The Nielsen retail scan data also shows that club varieties also rose to the occasion, including SweeTango®. SweeTango® made up two percent of apple dollars and volume during the 12-week timeframe and was up 28 percent in dollars compared to last year, with 51 percent more volume.
“SweeTango® performed well with a $2.16 average non-promotion price, well above the $1.70 apple average,” explains Shales. “It’s encouraging to see such a great tasting apple rise in the data during its peak season. It shows it performs at retail during this early fall period when shoppers seek apples out.”
And if retailers are curious about Cosmic Crisp® apples, Shales encourages them not to fret!
“While this data doesn’t reflect their first week on the market, the apple is off to a big start and you should base featuring this apple along with other core varieties in a multi-variety ad. This is the best route for overall category health.”
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.