Okanagan Specialty Fruit's Neal Carter Discusses 2017 Plans for Nonbrowning Arctic® Apples
SUMMERLAND, BC - 2017 looks to be a landmark year in the making for Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF) and its flagship product, nonbrowning Arctic® apples. Gearing up for the launch of its first Arctic variety with even more on the way, OSF has plenty of excitement in store for what may be its busiest year yet.
“We at Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. are thrilled to be launching the first of our flagship nonbrowning Arctic apple varieties this year–Arctic Goldens!” company President Neal Carter tells me when I ask about what we can expect for the rest of the 2017. “All our Arctic apple varieties have a unique trait that prevents browning even when apples are bitten, sliced, or bruised. Thanks to their Arctic Advantage™ benefit, our nonbrowning apples can help reduce food waste throughout the supply chain while also giving consumers an unparalleled eating experience.”
One area in particular that Arctic apples seem to excel in is the fresh cut produce area. Later this year, OSF will be taking the trend head on, exclusively launching Arctic Golden apple slices in 10-ounce grab-and-go bags. Neal says that the new product highlights the apples’ unique nonbrowning trait, enabling Arctic apple slices to be preservative free and providing consumers with the convenience factor and eating experience they desire. And coming up next, keep your eyes out for the new varieties—Arctic Granny and Arctic Fuji.
“We really want people to know how passionate we are about the many positive benefits of Arctic apples,” Neal explains when I ask what message he wants the industry to know about this new influx of apple products. “While our main goals with Arctic apples are to boost apple consumption and reduce food waste, biotechnology can also reduce water use, pesticides, and overall production costs, while increasing yields and improving lives. We look forward to seeing how our future innovations and advancements in biotechnology can continue to provide impactful benefits globally.”
And with a launch as exciting as this one, OSF has plenty of in-store promotional materials to help promote sales at retail. In addition to in-store promotional activities, OSF will be offering a wealth of infographics, recipe cards, and much more to draw in consumer attention. OSF will also be staying at the forefront of consumer and retail eyes alike over the season, through the use of social media platforms, the OSF and Arctic apples websites, and weekly blog posts.
“Although our commercial launch is this year, it has been quite the journey to get to this point,” Neal says as we talk about OSF’s journey to get to this point. “We are a grower-led company—my wife and I are apple and cherry growers who founded the company over 20 years ago. Retailers should know that Arctic® apples have the exact same composition and nutritional value as their conventional counterparts, with the added bonus of the nonbrowning trait. Our long journey has included years of research and regulatory approvals making the Arctic® apple one of the most studied foods on the planet.”
One of those areas of research Neal mentions was a study of consumer preferences done by the company earlier this year, in which primary grocery shoppers in six U.S. cities had the chance to try the 10 oz bags of fresh Arctic Golden slices. According to OSF, results showed that 95% were satisfied or very satisfied with Arctic Goldens, and 92% said they would buy them if available in their local stores. For this first year of production, OSF expects availability to begin in October, lasting through the next 12 to 15 weeks. But keep your eyes peeled—as more trees get planted and more fruit is produced, Neal says the wholesome, nonbrowning apples will be available to apple lovers year-round. Want to learn even more about the Arctic apple revolution ahead of this October’s launch date? Visit www.arcticapples.com.