Stemilt’s Fast Facts: The Cast Shows Cherry Dollars Up
WENATCHEE, WA - If your customers are anything like me, their mouths are already starting to water at the thought of the rich, juicy cherries getting ready to hit the produce aisles as the season approaches. To give retailers a head start, Stemilt has put together a special edition of Fast Facts: The Cast to give an overview of Nielsen’s cherry performance data from May 9 to September 12, 2020, in comparison to the same time frame in 2019, providing insights for what can be expected in 2021.
“Every cherry season is memorable, and the 2020 season was no exception,” explained Brianna Shales, Marketing Director. “Across the U.S., cherries made up 3.4 percent of the total produce dollars from May to September, with the Midwest and Northeast regions closer to 4 percent. These numbers are quite impressive, especially since we were in the midst of a pandemic.”
Though consumers spent less time meandering the aisles of the grocery store in 2020, retailers were still able to capitalize on the opportunity to promote the category through their online shopping channels, according to a press release. Overall, this promotion resulted in good online purchase rates.
“Because retailers were quick on their feet and made sure that cherries were a featured item on their online platforms, impulse purchases continued and consumers seemed willing to splurge,” said Shales. “Retailers also did a great job with light-colored cherries despite a smaller crop. Rainier cherry volume increased six percent and dollars were up 17 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. Rainiers lifted the category and sold for an average but premium price of $5.28 per pound.”
The Skylar Rae® brand Tip Top cv cherries were a variety that saw double digit volume increases in 2020 with an average retail price of $5.68 per pound. Drawing in consumers with their firmness and sweet flavor profile, the variety is available during key promotion weeks, which can help retailers drive impulse sales and grow dollars across the category.
“Skylar Rae cherries are a great way to bring a new item into the category as well as delight consumers,” added Shales. “Between Skylar Rae cherries and our high elevation A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® cherries, retailers reaped the benefits last year.”
Stemilt’s A Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries are famously grown in high-elevation orchards and extend the season.
In 2020, the U.S. sold 16 percent of the season’s dark-sweet cherry volume between August and September and brought in 20 percent of the season’s dark-sweet cherry dollars.
“When looking at the 2020 cherry season, we see cherry category dollars were up nearly 30 percent year over year while pounds were up 10 percent,” says Shales. “Even though volume was low, these numbers indicate demand remained high. We attribute this to the quality of the cherries, which keep consumers coming back for more.”
Another area of opportunity that Shales highlights is organics, which made up 2.6 percent of category volume in 2020. She considers a great seasonal item, providing the opportunity to bring in more dollars to the category.
“Every week matters during cherry season, so it is important retailers remain flexible during cherries and capitalize on opportunities as they arise,” explained Shales. “We’re excited to fill the pent-up demand for cherries that last year’s success brought and here to help you delight consumers with our World Famous cherries.”
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