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Stemilt Releases New Episode of Fast Facts: The Cast With Brianna Shales and Tim Harrington

Stemilt Releases New Episode of Fast Facts: The Cast With Brianna Shales and Tim Harrington



WENATCHEE, WA - Stemilt offers an exclusive look at its deep category expertise with the release of its Fast Facts: The Cast episodes. In its most recent release, the grower’s Brianna Shales, Marketing Director, sits down with Tim Harrington, Merchandising Representative, to dissect data in the apple category. Diving into the latest 12 weeks of Nielsen United States apple category data from October 9, 2021, through January 1, 2022, the two talk inflation and the promotional opportunities available to buyers.

Brianna Shales, Marketing Director, Stemilt“I was super encouraged to see double digit growth across the country for Pink Lady® volume and dollars during this time period,” began Shales. “I want to see more success like we are seeing in the south or northeast with Pink Lady. I’d like to see retailers use additional promotion for Valentine’s Day and throughout spring as we have a fantastic color and quality crop with a range of sizes of Pink Lady.”

According to a press release, apple dollars are up across the country due to inflation and a shorter crop nationally. Over the last 12 weeks, the category made up 6.2 percent of total produce department sales. As such, Stemilt suggests that retailers build volume through promotion strategies, as increasing units around inflated apple prices will help category performance.

Tim Harrington, Merchandising Representative, Stemilt“Retailers should continue to promote the four core varieties: Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady, and Cosmic Crisp®,” said Harrington. “It’s super important to get those units up because right now we are seeing them flat. As I look at the category data, I see Pink Lady is a rising star.”

Stemilt noted that weekly ad inclusion can support all mainline varieties within the category. As Shales touched on, conventional Pink Lady apples are experiencing increases nationally (up 47 percent over last year). The variety is a strong-performing, year-round variety that is ideal for January through August promotions. 

The top five apples were Gala, making up 22.8 percent of apple volumes sold and 18.2 percent of apple dollars; Honeycrisp, making up 21.5 percent of apple volumes sold and 29.5 percent of dollars; and Granny Smith, Fuji, and Red Delicious rounding out the group. Gala volumes are down 10 percent year over year due to a shorter crop, meaning it will be important for retailers to promote the variety into the late winter and spring months.

Over the 12 week period from October 9, 2021, to January 1, 2022, apple dollars were up across the country due to inflation and a shorter crop nationally and made up 6.2 percent of total produce department sales

Organic apples reportedly make up 16 percent of apple sales with a stable volume over last year. Organic bulk Honeycrisp make up 5.8 percent of all apple sales and are one of the top performing organic SKUs.

“Congratulations retailers,” Harrington said in the video. “The organic category has grown and will look to 20 percent next. Continue promoting organics where the crop allows. Organic Honeycrisp and Granny Smith are great options, and it’s important to widen displays when you can to draw shoppers to organics.”

The bulk and bag volume ratio continues to be steady, they continued. Forty percent of apple volumes are coming from bag sales, and 60 percent of volumes are from bulk fruit. Bag retail pricing is up 12 percent from last year. The average retail price for apples was $1.81 per pound and apple dollars are up 6.5 percent year over year, and apple volumes were down 3.4 percent from one year ago. Retailers can build volume through promotion strategies, as increasing units around inflated apple prices will offer support.

Pink Lady® apples also saw double digit growth in dollars and volume across the country during this 12-week period

Cosmic Crisp broke into the top 10 apple varieties in the Midwest region during its first full month of the season. All regions are poised for growth with the variety this year, as crop volumes and the length of the season have increased. Ample display space, regular promotion to increase movement, and great merchandising strategies will help retailers to introduce the variety to consumers.

“As I’ve toured stores out west, I’ve seen really good placement of Cosmic Crisp, and you definitely notice it from a consumer standpoint,” said Shales. “I think our opportunity is to open up the display space, promote the variety, and make sure we continue that education to encourage people to pick up the Cosmic Crisp and try it.”

January through May will reportedly be huge months for Cosmic Crisp’s promotional activity. The variety is up 30 percent from the same time period last year.

We thank Stemilt for sharing these valuable category insights. Be sure to follow along with us as we report the latest.

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As the founding family of Stemilt, we’ve been farming apples, pears, and cherries in eastern Washington since the early...