Stemilt's Brianna Shales Shares Key Tips To Boost Spring Apple Sales
WENATCHEE, WA - As we all know, spring is a prime season for our industry as many consumer-favorite crops begin to flourish under the warming temperatures here in the Northern Hemisphere. With the influx of fresh produce hitting the shelves, I sat down with Brianna Shales, Marketing Director for Stemilt, who revealed some tips and tricks the grower has up its sleeve to keep apple sales soaring this season.
“I think everyone knows that last March brought a huge uptick in produce sales, and that includes apples. This was due to the COVID-19 pandemic start and the stock-up buying that ensued,” explains Brianna. “While things are still far from normal, it’s going to be hard to compare this spring to last spring, and because we won’t have that stock-up experience at retail, it makes it all the more important to plan meaningful promotions to help drive dollars to one of the key fruit categories in produce—apples.”
And what better time to start promoting the popular category than springtime? With quality high and varieties aplenty, this is the perfect chance for retailers to begin merchandising Stemilt’s portfolio of delicious apples and a wide range of eye-catching packaging.
After being identified at harvest as having great starch levels, then kept in atmospheric controlled storage, Stemilt’s apples are now starting to be fresh-packed, and the sugar to acid ratios are at their prime for exceptional flavor. Taking pride in shipping its World Famous apples, Brianna explains that the company uses supply and demand forecasting to plan packing runs and ensure that fresh inventory is being shipped and placed in the hands of retailers and shoppers.
“For us, it really comes down to freshness and the consumer experience,” says Brianna. “It’s all about the 4Ps: the right product, the right price, the right placement, and exciting promotions. That is what helps drive apple sales, whether they are shopping in-store or online. We can have lots of fun dreaming up merchandising strategies to ensure the apple category moves in the right direction this spring.”
To help drive retail sales, Stemilt has a plethora of resources available for promoting its varieties across different markets. As retailers begin brainstorming their next promotion, Brianna shares the key apple varieties they should be stocking up on to drive consumer traffic to the produce section.
“Gala is the top apple by volume in the category while Honeycrisp drives the most dollars—these are important features in multi-variety ads. It’s important that retailers look at multiple varieties versus standalone ads on one variety to build the category,” she explains. “Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious holdings are down year-over-year nationally. However, we see great opportunities on core apples like Fuji, premium varieties like Pink Lady®, and many club apples, including Cosmic Crisp®, for a bit longer. This apple is in its second year on the market and having an extended season. It’s a great one to introduce to shoppers!”
Currently, the company is offering its premium varieties like Pink Lady and Cosmic Crisp in high-graphic boxes that are perfect for building instant displays. Stemilt also has a variety of packing solutions including 3 lb pouch bags and 5 lb Apple Lover pouch bags Lil Snappers® kid-size fruits, as well as paper tote bags under the Farm + Famous label to help drive bulk fruit purchases in this COVID-19 environment where consumers are looking for limited contact.
You heard it here, folks! Make sure to stock up on Stemilt’s flavorful varieties of apples and start getting ready for this season’s eye-catching promotions as consumers prepare to storm the shelves for the holidays ahead.
For more merchandising tips and key industry insights, keep reading AndNowUKnow.