Chelan Fresh's Mac Riggan Discusses Promising Apple Outlook
CHELAN, WA - Not only are current apple crops looking good, they are making a statement for the industry’s efforts. Mac Riggan, Director of Marketing for Chelan Fresh, recently shared how Washington harvest is increasingly trending toward newer, more exciting varieties as consumers continue to demand them.
“Every year, the Washington apple industry is providing more of the emerging and modern varieties—Ambrosia, Autumn Glory®, Cosmic Crisp®, Honeycrisp, Envy™, JAZZ™, Juici™, KORU®, Opal®, Pink Lady, Rave™, Rockit™, SugarBee®—taking a greater percentage of the crop volume overall. This year, almost 30 percent of the crop is the more exciting, recent brands, which is huge,” Mac shares.
He explains how this not only signals consumer demand toward more choices in apple varieties, but in the industry’s own success in the work it has put behind the movement.
“Washington growers have done an amazing job investing in and producing these new varieties, as well as marketing and spreading their stories,” he says. “While Galas remain stable, we are seeing less call for, and so less production of, reds, golds, and more ‘classic’ options that were the only choices of the category for so long. So, the Washington group is doing a great job, in my opinion, of investing in varieties that meet consumer demand.”
The other side of the story we would be remiss to forget is that input costs continue to go up. Not just in the challenges of getting supply of hard-to-come-by ocean containers, the rising labor costs and shortages, but even in soil costs and basic necessities to bring the fruit to bear.
“Truly, it is amazing in the face of even these challenges how growers successfully produce a safe, high-quality piece of fruit. So, we are certainly hoping profits line up for growers. The crop quality and volume look great, now we look to consumers’ recognition of this to reward those efforts we put in to deliver,” Mac sums up.
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