Published: 10/15/2012

by The Guide 2012


Top 5 Things You Need to Know

  • Taste: Apples come in a variety of flavors, from sweet and tangy like the Honeycrisp to tart like the granny smith.
  • Selection: Consumers will want to choose apples that are firm to the touch with no soft spots. Apple colors vary by variety.
  • Use: Apples have a variety of uses, including snacks, salads, sauces, baked goods and even frozen. See the usage guide for variety specifics.
  • Merchandising: Give those apples some room. Provide plenty of varieties from which consumers can choose and let your display take up plenty of space, especially during the fall.
  • Health: An apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Apples can be instrumental in protecting against cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer.

On the shelves


With all the apple varieties available, you have to help consumers decide what they want. Offering lots of varieties is great and can increase sales, but it can also discourage customers from trying something new because they are so overwhelmed with the choices. Beef up your apple category by offering about 12 different varieties in large stores and seven in smaller stores. Carry a mix of types, sizes and price points. Be sure to clearly label and separate each variety.

Many newer, specialty varieties carry a higher price point than traditional varieties. Adding one or two of these varieties to your display can boost the whole category and bring consumers back for more.


Keep those apples looking great with a first-in, first-out stocking technique. Avoid giving your customers mush instead of crunch by placing apples carefully on the display — no dumping. Move older stock to the top and front of the display, and carefully cull bruised, cut, punctured or discolored apples.


One size does not fit all when it comes to apples. Take advantage of the many apple varieties to offer different sizes targeted for alternate uses – from a pie to the main dish.


Offer bagged, sliced apples so moms and dads have a convenient way to add a healthy punch to their child’s lunch. Offer bulk and bagged apples to create interest and more options for consumers.


Create an eye-catching display using apples’ natural brilliance in color to your advantage by alternating  color varieties. Add full-color, high impact graphics to the display to double the colorful impact of your display and increase your sales. Make that eye-catching display extend into the aisle by creating waterfall displays, but keep in mind that apples ripen 10 times faster at room temperature, and they should not be unrefrigerated for more than 48 hours.

Making the sale


Get shoppers thinking about different uses for apples by putting tie-in products on the display. Offer caramel and candy apple kits and wraps and caramel dip near your apple display. Cater to your shoppers’ natural association of apples and pie by merchandising pie shells, pie toppings and baking supplies nearby. Note the best baking apples with signs and recipes. While consumers love apple pie, no one likes the task of coring and peeling the apple. Make it simple for your apple shoppers by offering peelers and corers near the display.


Take advantage of the holiday spirit to move apples. Apples are a natural for holiday gift boxes and baskets. Their beautiful red color makes them a perfect tie-in for the winter holidays. Offer gift boxes and baskets to increase impulse buying and add interest to your displays.  Winter holidays are the perfect time to draw attention to apples as they are often used both in holiday dishes and as a decoration. Decorate a tree with bright red apples or create a centerpiece for the display that encourages consumers to consider apples as a decoration. Offer holiday recipes that include apples.



With new varieties appearing frequently, take advantage of their newness to offer consumers a taste. Sample some of the newer, higher-priced varieties to create interest and boost sales. Even if they like the taste, the endless variety of apples can frustrate shoppers if they don’t know which apples work well in baking versus snacking. Post a usage chart near the display or note each variety’s best uses on its price sign.


Seasonal promotions

As the seasons change, so should your strategy for moving apples out of the store. Take advantage of natural tie-ins to sell apples.


Fall conjures up images of falling leaves and apple orchards, so take advantage of the fact that consumers’ minds are focused on apples. Create a harvest theme in your produce department with apples as a featured commodity. Hay bales, wheelbarrows and corn stalks add ambience as the weather outside cools down. Take advantage of National Apple Month, a 90-day event from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 to promote apples.


When kids head back to school in August and September, parents are always looking for a healthy snack to send in their lunches. Use a back-to-school theme to encourage shoppers to add apples to the lunchtime menu. Set up a chalkboard near the display and use notebooks and pencils as decorations to draw attention to the apple’s versatility.



Use the winter months to attract health-conscious consumers. Promote the health benefits of apples to consumers hoping to drop a few pounds at the start of the new year. Keep them buying in February as part of American Heart Month. Let consumers know that people who eat apples and apple products have a lower risk of developing heart disease.


Keep apples top of mind in the spring and summer months by including them in grilling and picnic displays.


On the plate

Apples can make their way onto the menu in more than just pie and cobbler. Cash in on their popularity with both kids and adults when planning your menu. Offer apple slices as an alternative to french fries on children’s menus. Include them as part of a fruit cup for both children and adults. Adding apples to salads and salad bars adds flavor and interest to the same old offerings. A seasonal salad offered in the fall plays on consumers’ preconceived notions of fall and may attract more interest.

Apples are always popular in pastries, pies, breads and breakfast foods. Offer apple topping for pancakes and waffles on the breakfast menu. Hot apple cider tempts customers with its pungent aroma and warmth on a crisp, fall day.


Nutrition and health


Health benefits

Apples offer many health benefits. From cancer-fighting phytochemicals to reducing blood pressure and helping with weight loss, apples deserve their reputation as a disease-fighter.  Research also shows that eating apples may improve a person’s memory and may help protect against the damage that leads to brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.


Nutrient content descriptors

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for apples: fat-free, saturated fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free and an excellent source of fiber.


At the register

Common PLUs

3438 – Ambrosia

4101 – braeburn, small

4103 – braeburn, large

3065 – cameo, small

3066 – cameo, large

4104 – cortland, small

4106 – cortland, large

4128 – cripps, pink, small

4130 – cripps, pink, large

3010 – cripps, red, small

3301 – cripps, red, large

4108 – crispin/mutsu, small, East/Central

4109 – crispin/mutsu, small, West

4110 – crispin/mutsu, large, East/Central

4111 – crispin/mutsu, large, West

3604 – emmons

4124 – empire, small, East/Central

4125 – empire, small, West

4126 – empire, large, East/Central

4127 – empire, large, West

4120 – fiesta

4129 – fuji, small

4131 – fuji, large

4132 – gala, small, East/Central

4133 – gala, small, West

4134 – gala, large, East/Central

4135 – gala, large, West

4097 – ginger gold, small

4096 – ginger gold, large

4136 – golden delicious, small, East/Central

4021 – golden delicious, small, West

4137 – golden delicious, large, East/Central

4020 – golden delicious, large, West

3285 – golden delicious, extra large, West

4138 – granny smith, small, East/Central

4139 – granny smith, small, West

4018 – granny smith, large, East/Central

4017 – granny smith, large, West

3283 – honeycrisp

4144 – jonagold, small, East/Central

4145 – jonagold, small, West

4146 – jonagold, large, East/Central

4147 – jonagold, large, West

4148 – jonathon, small, East/Central

4149 – jonathan, small, West

4150 – jonathan, large, East/Central

4151 – jonathan, large, West

4152 – mcintosh, small, East/Central

4153 – mcintosh, small, West

4019 – mcintosh, large, East/Central

4154 – mcintosh, large, West

4128 – pink lady, small

4130 – pink lady, large

4167 – red delicious, small, East/Central

4015 – red delicious, small, West

4168 – red delicious, large, East/Central

4016 – red delicious, large, West

3284 – red delicious, extra large, West

4169 – rome, small, East/Central

4170 – rome, small, West

4171 – rome, large, East/Central

4172 – rome, large, West

4185 – york, small

4187 – york, large


In the backroom


50-lb. field crates

40- to 45-lb. cartons/boxes, tray-packed

40-lb. bushel baskets/cartons, tray- or cell-packed

40-lb. bushel baskets/cartons, loose pack

40-lb. 11⁄8-bushel cartons, loose pack

40-lb. cartons, 10 4-lb. film bags

40-lb. cartons, 16-8s tray wrapped

40-lb. cartons, 8 5-lb. bags

38- to 42-lb. cartons/boxes, loose pack

37- to 43-lb. cartons, cell-packed

36-lb. cartons, 12 3-lb. bags

28-lb. euro box

20-lb. 1⁄2-bushel cartons, loose

3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, 10-lb. polyethylene or cello bags

4-, 8-, 12-count clamshells

Tri-wall bins

600-lb. tote bin,300 lb. half tote bin

RPC 6419, 6423, 6425, 6428


Sliced consumer packs

1-lb., 2-lb., 14-oz., 6-oz., 3-oz. and 2-oz. bags

1-lb. bowl

1-lb. trays, with or without dip

3.5-oz. trays with dip

Foodservice packs

3-, 5- and 10-lb. polyethylene or cello bags (sizes range from 21⁄4 to 23⁄4 inches in diameter)

Cartons, 12 3-lb. bags or 8 5-lb. bags

1⁄3 carton, two-layer tray packs; 4- and 6-lb. carton

42 lb. bushel boxes


3-lb. bags

64 2-oz. bags

140 2-oz. bags

200 2-oz. bags



small – 100s-216s

large – 88s-70s

extra-large – 64s-36s



United States

U.S. Extra Fancy

U.S. Fancy

U.S. No. 1

Combination grades (Combinations of: U.S. extra fancy and U.S. fancy; U.S. fancy and U.S. No. 1; andU.S.No 1 andU.S.utility are permitted when at least 50% of the apples in any lot meet the requirements of the higher grade.)


Washington state grades

Washington Extra Fancy

Washington Fancy

Washington grades are a higher standard than the corresponding U.S. grade.

Washington has implemented minimum internal condition standards for all grades of delicious apples.



Temperature: 32 to34 F, 0 to1.1 C

Relative humidity: 90-95%

Mist: No

Typical shelf life: 90 to 240 days (under refrigeration)

Ethylene producer (Do not store with ethylene-sensitive items.)

Odor-sensitive (Will absorb odors produced by potatoes, bulb onions or any strong-flavored item.)

Moderately sensitive to freezing injury.

It is especially important that controlled-atmosphere apples are refrigerated at the proper temperature because they are more susceptible to becoming mealy.

Fresh Trends 2012

  • Consumers with kids at home (87%) are more likely to buy apples than those without kids (80%).
  • The number of consumers who were likely to purchase apples increased five percentage points over 2010.
  • Red delicious apples are still the most popular apples that consumers prefer to purchase.




Pounds sold in 2011 – 1,671,137,025


Pounds sold in 2010 – 1,752,028,942




Average price per pound in 2011 – $1.49


Average price per pound in 2010 – $1.42




Retail sales in 2011 -- $2,495,569,190                            Percent of total produce sales 2011 – 7%


Retail sales in 2010 -- $2,488,275,346                            Percent of total produce sales 2010 – 7.1%


Figures do not include Wal-Mart sales.


Source: FreshLook Marketing