Stemilt video blog reveals apple retail trends

Stemilt video blog reveals apple retail trends

Lower retail prices for Honeycrisp apples helped fuel volume gains of 22% for the variety in January.

That is one observation from Stemilt Growers latest episode of Fast Facts The Cast, available on YouTube.

The video podcast from Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers provides retailers with apple category analysis of retail sales, according to a news release.

The latest edition of the podcast reviewed apple category performance in January, when apple volumes rose 1.8% but total apple sales sagged 3.6% compared with year-ago levels.

“Honeycrisp volumes were up an incredible 22% year over year in January, but lower retail prices on this consumer favorite made for a dollar increase of just 4.6%,” Brianna Shales, senior marketing manager at Stemilt, said in the release. 

Shales said a large U.S. crop has led to some price deflation.

“Apples are in a period of deflation with a larger crop nationally this year,” Shales said. “With more volume, Honeycrisp promotions should continue but retailers will want to look closely at their Honeycrisp strategy as we near spring to ensure they aren’t leaving dollars behind.”

Retail scan data shows the top five apple varieties by volume in the U.S. during January were gala, Honeycrisp, fuji, granny smith, and red delicious, according to the release.

Gala and granny smith each had volume increases of about 1% compared with last year, and ample promotion opportunities remain for both varieties.

“Last year, we had a shortage of granny smith apples and this year we have a larger, and truly high-quality crop,” Shales said in the release. “The green holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, is an ideal time to promote granny smith but this variety is also a must to include in cross-category promotions monthly.”

Meanwhile, the release said organic apple volume was up 10% in January, and organic sales were up 2.2% compared with a year ago. Organic apple accounted for 12% of the total apple category in January, according to the report.

Earth Day is April 22, Shales said in the release, and represents an opportune time to promote organic apples. “One idea is to carry a certain variety – like Pinata - only as organic. Promote organic-only varieties with the same gusto as conventional to build sales and delight your organic shoppers.”

Promoting multiple varieties and creating cross-category promotions make sense for the spring, Shales said in the release.

Stemilt recently unveiled a new pop-out orchard display in partnership with Produce for Better Health Foundation, according to the release, with a “Have a Plant consumer call-to-action. The display will help retailers give more space to apples, Shales said, while promoting the fruit as part of a plant-based diet.

“Plants are super trendy with consumers right now, and the produce department is home for a wide variety of fruits and veggies,” Shales said in the release. “We’re looking forward to seeing these bright displays in stores, and hope they inspire shoppers to enjoy an apple a day the Have a Plant way this spring.”

Related content:
Stemilt unveils Have a Plant pop-out display for apples
Stemilt to feature new organic apple bags at Fresh Summit
Stemilt Growers offers video review of apple category performance