Stemilt Growers' Roger Pepperl Discusses Retail Strategies for Apple Sales

Fri. October 9th, 2015 - by Melissa De Leon Chavez

WENATCHEE, WA - With the warm summer months having led to varying sizes among Washington apple varieties, what are the key points retailers need to know? Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director for Stemilt Growers, took the time to discuss some key strategies retailers should be executing, as well as an overview of the season.

To hear everything Roger had to say, listen to the complete interview above.

If there is one thing he impressed as far as maximizing dollars and volume with the smaller fruit this year, it was getting promotions out there early.

Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director, Stemilt Growers“We’re doing display contests, we’re doing custom POS posters, whatever needs to be done to build around that fall apple category,” he said, explaining that retailers have a chance to capture dollars due to prices being more attractive for growers.

“This year’s crop we have some opportunities,” Roger tells me. “Last year’s crop was north of 140 million in boxes in Washington. This year it’s looking more and more like this crop might be closer to 115 million.”

Despite the smaller sizes, Roger says that retailers should not accept having decreases in volumes and sales, but instead take a look at the category.

“Let’s face it, bulk ads drive the category,” he said, adding that Stemilt will be focusing on ads like Fujis and Granny’s, both which have nice sizing, as well as:

  • Pink Ladies
  • Braeburns
  • Reds
  • Golds

Even Honey Crisp, Roger added, is a large enough apple that it can be sold in bulk despite being slightly down in size.

As we previously reported, fruit came off the tree earlier than years past following warm summer temperatures, which Roger explained led to Galas coming off in August. To replace the Gala in bulk ads, Stemilt is offering its signature Pinata variety as an alternative, having been up 44 percent in volume last year in the U.S.

But decreases in volume will be present, and as a result Roger says bag sales is where retailers can and should drive dollars. “Looking at the bag as a category that can drive dollars, not just off truly cheap prices, is so necessary,” he tells me.

Promotions and options Stemilt offers for the bag category include Lil Snappers bags and Fresh Blender bags, providing both value and volume.

Keep checking in with AndNowUKnow as we continue to follow all the latest developments across the apple industry.

Stemilt Growers