Stemilt Fruit Tracker notes strong sales for gala apples

Stemilt Fruit Tracker notes strong sales for gala apples

Gala apple sales and volume showed a sharp uptick in December compared with year-ago sales, according Stemilt Growers.

The company’s Fruit Tracker Fast Facts video analysis of Nielsen scan data reveals gala volume and value were up 11% in December compared with a year ago.

Stemilt Growers' analysis of December U.S. retail scan data shows average weekly dollars and pounds of apples sold were flat compared to December 2017, according to a news release.

“The fact that apple sales are flat during a shorter crop year is a sign of great demand for a popular fruit,” Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager, said in the release. “Retailers should be encouraged about the performance of their apple category and its leading apple, gala, in the first four months of this new crop year.”

According to the analysis, gala accounted for about one-quarter of apple sales in December 2018 with an average retail price of $1.29 per pound. Honeycrisp led the top five apple varieties in average retail pricing, at $2.28 a pound, according to the release.

Honeycrisp represented 17.4% of apple category sales and 24.6% of the dollars.

Dollar sales of Honeycrisp were up 4% in December compared with year-ago levels. The Stemilt report said granny smith, fuji, and red delicious rounded out the top five apple varieties in December.

“Fuji was down in volume and dollars year-over-year in December and is the apple with the most promotion opportunity as we head into the spring months,” Shales said in the release. “At Stemilt, we have great supplies of high-color and high-quality Aztec Fuji’s coming to align with apple promotions that feature fuji.”

Bulk apples generated 58.3% of apple pounds sold and 67.4% of the dollars.

The release said Stemilt has merchandising plans for retail bulk and bagged apples in the spring.

The company introduced a set of EZ pallet displays in October to help retailers promote conventional and organic apples, according to the release, in addition to the Lil Snappers brand for smaller fruit in pouch bags.

“We know that most consumers are enjoying apples as a snack,” Shales said in the release. “Our EZ pallets were made to reinforce that behavior and encourage shoppers to purchase apples for snacks.”