Stemilt's Brianna Shales Discusses Tight Apple Market and Winter Merchandising Opportunities
WENATCHEE, WA - Just because the fall harvest is over, it doesn’t mean that apple merchandising opportunities are too, and Stemilt is proving it. As the grower rounds out its 2021 crop, Brianna Shales, Marketing Director shared what buyers can expect from the category throughout the rest of the year, and how they can capture extra register rings into the winter months.
“We are now focused on packing fresh daily to fulfill orders,” Brianna says. “We experienced great weather throughout the fall harvest period which helped deliver the colors and qualities of fruit that retailers and consumers want. Though the Washington apple crop is smaller in size than past years, it still offers a plethora of promotional opportunities, various pack sizes, and pack types.”
Always there to give its retail partners a boost, Stemilt has a wide variety of support options that make creating displays and marketing to shoppers a breeze. This includes POS signage for the apple category, pop-up display bins to help build secondary display space, and unique product lines, such as its Lil Snappers® kid-sized fruit, to entice consumers as they turn their focus toward healthier options as New Year’s inspires lifestyle resolutions.
“Lil Snappers are easy to merchandise at retail because of their grab-and-go 3 lb pouch bags and the fact that they can be showcased in a display-ready carton. It's a real win-win for the retailer and consumer and helps bring incremental sales to the category,” explains Brianna.
Besides Stemilt’s line of Lil Snappers, Brianna offers one more tip for retailers looking to collect shopper dollars this season.
“Promote organic apples!” the marketing maven passionately relays. “They hold 15 percent of apple sales at retail and are a key part of category growth opportunities because of the great flavors available, consumer demand for the category, and of course, the premium price that organic apples are sold at.”
Besides organic apple varieties, Brianna explains that the top apple at retail by volume is Gala; however, with tighter supplies of the variety than usual, she recommends that buyers turn promotions toward apples with greater volume.
“Core apples like Granny Smith and Pink Lady will have great promotional opportunities for a range of sizes,” she urges. “Cosmic Crisp has grown in volume over last year, making it a great apple to include as part of the core mix for multi-variety apple ads. Fuji also has fantastic potential as we enter the new year and the key apple months that follow.”
Overall, Nielsen data from the 12 weeks ending November 27 shows that apple prices have increased seven percent year-over-year on average at retail, in part due to a shorter crop, but also food inflation. Stemilt expects this trend of lower apple volumes and increased pricing to continue, emphasizing the need to promote the category in-store to maintain good retail pull-through.
Despite lower volumes, quality has been very good for Stemilt’s apples this season and should remain consistent as the grower begins to pack fruit that has been in controlled atmosphere storage.
“We are especially impressed with the color and quality of our Pink Lady apples this year as well as our Cosmic Crisp, Fuji, and Granny Smith varieties,” Brianna adds.
As consumer demand for apples remains a constant, Brianna and the hard-working marketing team at Stemilt continue to offer partners great retail insights and tips. For more updates like this one, stick with AndNowUKnow.