Superfresh Growers' Catherine Gipe-Stewart Provides Apple Market Insights
YAKIMA, WA - In a year marked by dizzying twists and turns, there is one thing that can almost always be looked to as a steadying constant, and that is consumers’ love of apples. With the apple season already well underway, I spoke with Communications Manager Catherine Gipe-Stewart to get insights into the current state of the apple market at Superfresh Growers and the new way that shoppers are getting their fill of the popular category.
“Apple sales continue to remain strong and be one of the top fruit items in sales. COVID-19 overall has increased demand for apples, especially packaged apples, for their perceived food safety, convenience, and grab-and-go ease,” says Catherine. “We have been working with customers on finding the right packaging options for them whether it’s reducing plastic, increasing ease for merchandising, or creating an eye-catching design.”
As bagged apples have seen a rise in demand, due to lower volumes, certain varieties including Granny Smith, Gold Delicious, Fuji, Gala, and Red Delicious, are showing tighter markets. Although Catherine explains that varieties such as Honeycrisp, Cosmic Crisp, and Autumn Glory are steady with promotional volumes being reported.
While core varieties and bagged offerings continue to drive the apple market, Catherine urges that November category data may reveal a shift that includes more proprietary varieties like Autumn Glory and Cosmic Crisp. She also notes that the company’s organic crops have seen a notable increase.
“Superfresh Growers is tracking similarly to state averages, though we have experienced a substantial transfer of our overall crop to organics, which now accounts for 16 percent of our 2020 crop,” Catherine tells me. “Despite the overall crop being down, our organics are up 16 percent. We are seeing the largest increases on organic Pink Lady®, Cosmic Crisp®, and Autumn Glory® apples.”
Crops being down has not stopped Superfresh Growers as the company is looking forward and putting together plans for the future. Despite lower volumes being reported, the grower has a year-round supply of its core varieties and will continue to take advantage of consumer buying patterns to stay on track for the rest of the season.
As the pandemic continues to shift popular category markets, what other changes are in store across fresh produce? ANUK will keep our eyes peeled for the latest updates in order to bring you answers.