WENATCHEE, Wash. – The latest Stemilt Fruit Tracker Fast Facts video analysis of Nielsen scan data signals a strengthening apple category, despite a slow start to apple sales in the new crop year and a national apple crop that’s down considerably from 2017.
Stemilt’s analysis of December 2018 U.S. retail scan data shows average weekly dollars and pounds of apples sold were flat compared to December 2017. The average U.S. store sold 1,685 pounds of apples per week in December 2018, bringing an average of $2,710 to the store each week. The category’s top apple variety, Gala, has rebounded from December 2017 performance, with volumes and dollars up 11 percent year-over-year.
“The fact that apple sales are flat during a shorter crop year is a sign of great demand for a popular fruit,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt’s communications manager. “Retailers should be encouraged about the performance of their apple category and its leading apple, Gala, in the first four months of this new crop year.”
Gala made up approximately one-quarter of apple sales in December 2018 with an average retail price of $1.29 per pound. Honeycrisp led the top 5 apple varieties in average retail pricing with an average price per pound of $2.28. Honeycrisp represented 17.4 percent of apple category sales and 24.6 percent of the dollars. Dollar sales of Honeycrisp were up 4 percent in December 2018 when compared to the year prior. Granny Smith, Fuji, and Red Delicious rounded out the top five apple varieties in December 2018.
“Fuji was down in volume and dollars year-over-year in December and is the apple with the most promotion opportunity as we head into the spring months,” said Shales. “At Stemilt, we have great supplies of high-color and high-quality Aztec Fuji’s coming to align with apple promotions that feature Fuji.”
The 2017 apple crop leaned heavy to bagged apples, due to smaller apple sizes in the crop. Data from December 2018 shows that bulk apple sales have rebounded with larger fruit sizes the norm this year. Bulk apples generated 58.3 percent of apple pounds sold and 67.4 percent of the dollars.
Stemilt has merchandising vehicles for both bulk and bagged apples to support spring apple promotions at retail. The company introduced a set of EZ pallet displays in October to help retailers promote both conventional and organic apples, as well as its award-winning Lil Snappers® brand for kid-sized fruit in pouch bags.
“We know that most consumers are enjoying apples as a snack. Our EZ pallets were made to reinforce that behavior and encourage shoppers to purchase apples for snacks,” said Shales. “The EZ pallet easily moves through a retailer’s distribution system, sets up in the store in a minute, and will grab shopper’s attention through its large footprint and high graphics.”
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.