Giumarra Companies, FirstFruits Marketing, and Stemilt Share Washington Harvest Update
WASHINGTON - It’s that time again! The fall season has provoked consumers to increase their apple intake, from candy apples to pies and everything in between. Exploring the best ways to bob for apple sales this season, I touched base with a few category savants to help inform your fall merchandising strategies.
"Apples continue to be a shopping basket essential for many consumers, and there is robust availability and quality in the marketplace," shared Jason Bushong, General Manager, Wenatchee, at The Giumarra Companies. "Standard varieties offer consumers reliable value, and we are also seeing new varieties take off."
"Signage and in-store merchandising can help tell the flavor and origin story of a variety," Jason advises. "Shoppers are still very excited about the apple category, and we have seen success with several of our retail customers offering grab-and-go bags for convenience."
Sharing more insight into Washington’s apple production, FirstFruits Marketing has reported that this season’s apple crop is on track to be a record Washington state volume crop.
“This crop is on track to produce an all-time amazing apple eating experience for the consumer from now until the very last box is packed,” added Chuck Zeutenhorst, FirstFruits President. “It’s true that crops this large make for exceptional fruit, so we are excited to deliver that to our customers all season long. We are seeing our normal picking conditions with mild days and cool nights. These conditions have produced beautifully colored and high-flavored apples. With this type of volume, we are looking forward to a year-long calendar full of promotional opportunities with Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Cosmic Crisp®, and of course my favorite–Opal®!”
Stemilt’s Brianna Shales also divulged some details of the season, pointing to great growing conditions and tons of promotional opportunities.
“Harvest has wrapped up in Washington State, and the industry is excited about increased volumes of both conventional and organic varieties this season, especially when compared to last year’s short crop,” the Marketing Director added. “Growing conditions since spring were optimal for apples, and we’re seeing great fruit condition, size, and flavors in the mix of varieties available. Apples are poised for big promotions this year, and it’s important for retailers to take advantage of the volume available.”
“Nielsen scan data from September shows that apple volumes were down 7 percent year over year and dollars are down 2 percent,” Shales continued. “We want to see that reverse, and especially grow apple volumes at retail over last year. Frequent promotions on multiple varieties at the same time is the key to accomplish that.”
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