Stemilt Growers Launches Video Podcast Series
WENATCHEE, WA - Stemilt Growers is upping the stakes of its category insights program, Fruit Tracker™, with a new video podcast series. Similarly to the info provided by Fruit Tracker, the podcast—dubbed Fast Facts—will share quick facts and analysis around performance for top fruit categories and feature industry experts like Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s Marketing Director, and Brianna Shales, Senior Marketing Manager.
“Fast Facts 2.0 has arrived,” said Shales. “We’re rolling out this podcast-style analysis of category data to give retailers an easy way to digest facts that stood out to us in the latest set of Nielsen retail scan data. Whether they watch or listen, it’s a fast and fun way to understand how the total category is doing. It also offers advice for making small yet bold changes to elevate the category going-forward.”
The first episode, Fast Facts: The Cast, examines the U.S. apple category’s performance in October of 2019. The episode begins with a look at the overall apple category’s contribution to the total fresh produce department in October 2019 and compares it to the same timeframe the year prior, according to a press release.
“October is still in that transition time for apples, but it’s also a big selling month for apples, and the harsh reality is that we need to see bigger volumes of apples sold. Going big with promotions will help account for deflation in the apple category and help move the large crop that we have nationally this season,” said Shales.
Specifically, in October, apples were 6.9 percent of fresh produce sales, which was down 0.2 percent year-over-year. The Midwest region beat the average with 8.6 percent of fresh produce sales coming from apples, while the remaining regions fell just above or below the national average.
In terms of varieties, Gala led the pack with a 3.6 percent increase in volume sold year-over-year. Honeycrisp followed closely behind despite sales being flat. Fuji, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith finished out the top five, and all saw sales decline year-over-year.
“The Gala increase was a positive, yet when we consider the larger crop we have this year, there is room for improvement,” continued Shales. “All top five varieties can benefit from increased multi-variety promotions that are centered around moving volume. Bigger displays, creative merchandising tactics, and in-and-outs on larger pouch bag packs are all strategies Stemilt has in place for retailers to tap into to push more volume through the register.”
The first episode of the podcast also covered club apples and organics. Pepperl, a former apple buyer/merchandiser, advised those in the role today to “pick their favorites” when it came to new varieties and focus on messaging their unique attributes to consumers in order to increase trial and future purchases, according to a press release.
“The gas pedal isn’t there when it comes to organic apples and presents a real creative promotion opportunity for retailers,” added Shales. “The retailers that do organics best will often have 20 to 30 percent of their apple sales coming from organics. With the largest organic apple crop in history, this is the year to reward loyal organic shoppers and entice new ones via promotions.”
In October of 2019, organic apple volumes were up nearly 7 percent when compared to 2018 and about 10 percent of apple category sales.
“It’s time to sell more to these produce fanatics. We want to see the same multi-variety ad effort that is made for conventional apples made for bulk organic,” said Shales, before noting that increasing the bag size retailers carry on organic apples is one simple trick to garnering more sales. Specifically, Shales explained that selling in packs that are three pounds or larger is an easy way to ensure organic product is identified at the register while also increasing the average purchase size.
“And beyond that, Stemilt has a value opportunity on 5-pound pouch bags of Artisan Organics™ apples that retailers can take advantage of to give that organic category a volume boost,” Shales concluded.
Click here to listen to the very first episode of the podcast yourself! And for more fresh produce news like this, stay right here with AndNowUKnow.