Stemilt Growers' Apples Ready for Stronger Prices
- by Alexis Schreiber
WENATCHEE, WA - Stemilt Growers' latest Fruit Tracker Fast Facts analysis is proof of strong category performance in March 2019 as the apple season progresses. According to Nielsen scan data, apples made up 8.2 percent of fresh produce sales on average in the U.S. between February 24 and March 30. The volume of apples was down 1.8 percent year-over-year and dollars were up a nominal 0.2 percent.
“With less volume in this crop and supplies starting to dwindle because of seasonality, we expect to see strengthening apple prices in the coming months,” said Brianna Shales, Communications Manager. “The 2019-20 apple crop is trending two weeks later than last season’s crop start and that will add pressure on supply and demand during the late summer transition.”
According to the company’s press release, the Midwest topped the national average, with apples making up 9.4 percent of fresh produce sales in March 2019 regionally. The Northeast was second with 7.7 percent of fresh produce sales from apples, followed by the South at 7.5 percent and the West at 7.8 percent.
The top five apple varieties in March 2019 were:
- Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith
- Gala volumes were up 14 percent year-over-year with dollars also up double-digits at 10.7 percent
- Gala accounted for 27 percent of March apple sales
- Honeycrisp has also seen volume growth of 9.3 percent and dollar growth of 7.2 percent when compared to March 2018
- Honeycrisp made up 24 percent of apple dollars in March
“Gala has been moving in a positive direction all season,” said Shales. “The quality of Gala this year has helped this top variety and helped drive consumer demand for apples. Pinata® is a fun success story in apples. Quality has been exceptional this year and we’re looking forward to some fun Cinco de Mayo celebrations with this culinary apple before we shift into imported Pinata apples this summer.”
Pinata, Stemilt’s signature apple saw sales increases in March 2019 when compared to the year prior. Volumes of the tropical apple were up 4 percent and dollars up 6 percent in March fueled by good sizing and great eating qualities.
“It’s been a great building year for organic apples,” said Shales. “Stemilt’s Artisan Organics™ program is celebrating its 30th birthday this year, and the anticipated larger crop of apples in the 2019-2020 crop will certainly help us continue to lead the strong momentum on organics with shoppers.”
In March 2019, the average retail price of apples was $1.69 per pound. Organic apples were up nearly 2 percent in volume year-over-year and made up more than 9 percent of total apple volumes sold in March 2019. In a 30 percent premium over conventional apples, the average retail price for organics was $2.19 per pound.
“The summer season is still apple season,” said Shales. “Retailers can look to Stemilt to guide them all the way through the seasons to keep their apple category roaring along.”
With summer fast approaching, it will be time for produce departments to focus on seasonal crops. Stemilt cautions retailers not to forget about the apple category. Stemilt currently has opportunities on select organic apples, including Gala, Fuji, and small Pink Lady® apples. Conventionally, Red Delicious, Pink Lady, Gala, Braeburn, and bulk Granny Smith are all areas to look at for apple promotions.
For all other updates on the apple season, keep reading AndNowUKnow.