Catherine Gipe-Stewart of Superfresh Growers® Details Apple Holiday Merchandising Insights
YAKIMA, WA - Is any holiday complete without apples? I think not! To help retailers maximize merchandising opportunities for the category, Superfresh Growers has a variety of best practices at the ready. I turned to Catherine Gipe-Stewart, Communications Manager, to find out more.
“With demos still on hiatus from COVID-19, Superfresh Growers is turning to digital marketing programs to support consumer awareness on our branded apples, Autumn Glory® and Cosmic Crisp®,” Catherine explained. “Using digital advertising works well in the e-commerce age, driving consumers directly to the product online. Digital marketing is the new ‘demo,’ driving consumers to the item. We saw an 800 percent increase in clicks in 2021 on digital ads.”
Supporting in-store marketing as well, the company offers merchandising options for Autumn Glory and Cosmic Crisp, such as pop-up bins, posters, and POS.
Cross promotion, too, Catherine remarked, is always a great merchandising practice. Superfresh Growers saw success cross-merchandising with ingredients for an apple cocktail, pie, or roast, and merchandising apples in another department can be a great way to capture more sales.
“Another tool that we offer to our customers is Superfresh Category Management®, a service that provides them with the latest apple category sales and advertising data,” Catherine commented. “Our latest update from Nielsen for the last four weeks ending October 10 shows that the average price of apples continued to rise through early October. Apples rose 12 percent to an average retail of $1.82/lb, average retail over the last 52 weeks was up 7 percent. This was driven by increased demand for U.S. product in the face of reduced imports, and by inflation, which is affecting the whole grocery store.”
Although we’re heading into the holiday season, Catherine noted that retailers should look into their domestic summer 2022 apple and pear programs now, as it is very possible current logistical problems plaguing international shipments will persist, reducing available imported southern hemisphere fruit.
This is of particular importance since consumer buying behavior is showing that apples are in higher demand, with the overall category rising in dollars.
“Apple promotional dollars jumped a whopping 69 percent year over year,” Catherine said. “Retailers are really promoting these categories hard, and we’re seeing branded apples and high flavor apples rise. Overall the category may be slightly declining in volume, while rising in dollars due to inflation, but certain varieties are worth paying attention to around the holidays.”
These apples in particular are Pink Lady®, Autumn Glory, and Cosmic Crisp.
Pink Lady rose 41 percent in dollars and 39 percent in volume in September. With Pink Lady being on the tarter side and very firm, this is a great baking apple to promote during the holidays.
“Autumn Glory began its 2021 season in October, with the strongest national and international launch we’ve seen yet,” Catherine expressed. “We expect even stronger sales this year than last year. And it’s the epitome of fall!
Shoppers have described the apples as perfectly crunchy, sweet, with a hint of cinnamon and brown sugar, as well as being one of the best apples they’ve ever had.
For Cosmic Crisp, the industry ship date is November 8, giving Cosmic a chance to be featured at both Thanksgiving and Winter Holiday tables this year.
“Cosmic Crisp rose to #11 in its sophomore year last year,” Catherine concluded. “With the increased volume coming this year, we’re sure Cosmic Crisp will rise into the top 10, and sales will continue to grow year over year.”
As the apple insights keep on coming, AndNowUKnow will be here to deliver them to you.