Honeybear® Brands' Don Roper Details Increased Prices and Empty Apple Pipeline
ELGIN, MN - The crisp bite and juicy flavor of apples epitomize the quintessential autumn season. Now that fall is here, many in the United States head to local orchards for apple picking. For those that can’t, they make the trek through the produce aisles to get their fall fix—and Honeybear® Brands is working to meet that demand.
“Right now, some of the pricing you’re seeing is up 30 percent over last year for certain varieties,” Don Roper, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, tells me. “The pipeline is empty, so the market is going to be tight and expensive for a little while longer. We’ve had some weather challenges this spring which has led to a delay for harvesting the Washington crop.”
Don further explains we will be seeing a tight market for Galas, Fujis, and organics.
“This year, we’re projecting a harvest around 105–110 million cases, about 10 percent lower than last year’s crop of 120 million,” continues Don. “We had a colder spring during the blooming stage, giving us a lighter set crop. In addition, the sizing of the Galas will be smaller, so we anticipate a greater offering of small bagged fruit SKUs over big bulk retail fruit.”
Luckily, there is a significantly larger Eastern apple crop, which will help retailers fill the gap.
“If you look at overall net volumes in the U.S., it’s around the same as last year,” Don elaborates. “In general, our crops are in pretty good condition, and we’re seeing great merchandising opportunities with the back-to-school season and the start of fall happening soon with our Sweet Deal promotions.”
The vertically integrated grower/packer/shipper’s Sweet Deal promotion features a variety of weighted packages, including 2, 3, or 4 lb bags. Sweet Deal will be available in several varieties, with Gala kicking off in September/October. Honeybear expects strong price points to drive good sales activity.
And if that’s not enough to fill a basket, wait until you hear about the grower’s latest variety, First Kiss.
“To date, our third-season production has doubled supply in the Midwest, but there is still room for extreme growth,” Don shares. “Once at full production, we plan to provide season-long First Kiss supply and support for retailers.”
Keep an eye out for ANUK as we bring the latest updates hitting the market.