Stemilt Growers Reports Drastic Retail Shifts to Apple Lover Bags
WENATCHEE, WA - With most consumers opting to purchase their fresh produce and essential needs through apps,delivery services, and in bulk to limit shopping trips, industry leaders like Stemilt Growrs are taking note. The apple and pear provider has changed gears to offer 3 and 5 lb bags of fresh produce to make purchasing easier.
“These are incredible circumstances,” said Brianna Shales, Senior Marketing Manager. “Like other produce suppliers, we feel fortunate to be able to feed people with nutritious fresh foods—like apples and pears—during this difficult time. We’re seeing a big shift to bagged apples and pears, and retailers carrying larger bag sizes to make up for volume that typically comes through the register as bulk.”
There is no evidence that food transmits COVID-19, Shales noted in the press release. The shift to bags is merely a reaction to new consumer shopping preferences. Bags are also an effective vehicle for retailers to quickly reset displays in produce departments and increase their ability to practice social distancing. Retailers typically sell 60-70 percent of apples as bulk, with the remaining 30-40 percent sold in bags. Stemilt anticipates retail scan data to show a shift in these percentages in the coming months.
“Retailers who traditionally sell apples via bulk displays are being proactive and jumping right into carrying 5 lb bags,” said Shales. “They know big bags are the best vehicle for these unprecedented times and appreciate the scanability bags offer and how quickly they can be displayed at the store.”
Stemilt is packing apples to order daily to fill the increased demand for bags. The main varieties to focus 5-lb Apple Lover packs sales are: Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious. Signature apples like Piñata® and Pink Lady® are also available in branded 5-lb pouch bags.
“Our pouch bags are resealable and designed with a sturdy handle to make that grab-and-go purchase easy,” Shales continued. “The 5-lb size is ideal for shoppers who are now looking to purchase groceries for a week—or more—when they shop. It’s not the time for small bag sizes, as they won’t make up for the lost bulk volume, and that will cause the apple category to deflate.”
According to the press release, bags have done ‘wonders’ for the pear category in recent years, and Stemilt expects that trend to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company packs d’Anjou pears in a Rushing Rivers® branded 5-lb bag and in a 3-lb Lil Snappers® pouch bag.
“This trend toward bags was already happening for pears and boosts consumer purchase size compared to when they buy bulk pears,” said Shales. “Now, we have a great opportunity to attract additional shoppers to the pear category with these larger pouch bags.”
Bags have always sold well online and are surging right along with retail upticks in online grocery shopping, Shales noted. Bags move quickly through fulfillment centers because they are a UPC unit and are easy for personal shoppers to locate and handle. It’s easy for consumers to understand the volume they are buying with bags.
“Consumers may be purchasing groceries online for the first time, and both of our bag items are branded to market intent to the shopper to make that purchase decision easy,” said Shales. “They fit that grab-and-go need whether people are working to get groceries quickly in-store or online.”
For more retail news, stay tuned with ANUK.