Oppy's David Nelley Discusses Jazz, Envy, Cripps Pink, and Other Apple Varieties
- by Jordan Okumura
NEW ZEALAND - Bringing a full line of apples and pears to retailers across North America this spring and summer is the Southern Hemisphere fresh produce program brought to you by Oppy. Ripe for the picking and with continued growth across key varieties, the company’s expanding portfolio will help the produce department drive both sales and flavor for these high-demand categories.
Joining me to talk shop about the program as well as the outlook for the season is David Nelley, the company’s Category Vice President for Apples, Pears, Cherries, and Global Exports.
“Our large pear program and organic apple programs in Argentina are already underway with a full range of varieties on the water being quickly followed by popular apple and pear varieties from Chile. For Oppy, Chile is dominated by conventional JAZZ™, Envy™ and Ambrosia apple varieties to complement Royal Gala, Cripps Pink, and Granny Smith,” David shares with me. “Our New Zealand program, which kicks off now and will run through September, is a huge part of our apple and pear deal as well.”
This year will be one of the biggest volume years for New Zealand, David adds, with 1.2 million boxes projected to be packed out of the region with a lion’s share of that coming from T&G Global.
“The big story for us is the New Zealand apple program dominated by JAZZ and Envy. We are going to see over 70 percent of our New Zealand program led by these new varieties,” David tells me.
In addition, the U.S. Apple Association’s “Munch Madness” consumer competition declared the Envy apple America’s favorite last month, chosen from 32 different apple varieties. Not a bad way to kick off the spring.
“We are excited for these larger volumes of Envy to match the demand we have continued to build for this apple,” he adds.
Oppy has been selling Envy since 2006, and it has become one of the larger volume apples for Oppy. David shares that this variety, available both bagged and loose, really matches what the North American consumer is looking for in an apple eating experience.
“Oppy has done a lot of research into the taste and texture of Envy,” David says. “The highlight of what they really like is that variety is uniquely sweet, crisp, juicy, and a vibrant red.”
What Oppy found is that once consumers tried it, they become believers, hence the positioning line Oppy developed for Envy, “Bite and believe”—which now supports the brand globally. The company has seen a great uptick in sales from club store formats to small niche retailers and everywhere in between. The apple also has a fantastic application for foodservice because it, naturally, does not brown when you slice it.
The JAZZ apple has been a part of the Oppy portfolio since about 2003 and the company has been year-round with the variety for the past five years. What does this mean for retailers? They can list this apple for 52-weeks of the year, both in a bag and in a loose format, bringing a consistent offering to those apple loving consumers. JAZZ research has shown that the two words that really jump out for consumers are “juicy” and “crisp,” providing a unique eating experience for the palate—something wonderful for the summer months.
“JAZZ is an apple that we really pride ourselves on helping to introduce to the North American marketplace,” David reflects. “We are really looking forward to the new crop and promoting with our retail partners. For both JAZZ and Envy, as well as our other varieties, a highlight of the season is that there are a lot of larger sized apples coming to North America that bring more variety to the current spread of apple sizes at retail.”
I ask David, what are some of the new developments on the organic front specifically for Oppy?
“Organics for us on apples and pears out of Argentina are really becoming a staple for our program and the small organic apple program out of Chile has experienced growth as well,” David notes. “And on the New Zealand front, we will be seeing our organic JAZZ program come one with bigger numbers. It is an exciting time for us.”
As Oppy shared with us recently, the company has had a great response to the new crop, which is following the demand curve for high-quality organic apples.
For a quick snapshot of what Oppy is offering this Southern Hemisphere season, check out this list:
- Argentina: Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady/Cripps Pink, Royal Gala apples; Bartlett, Bosc, D’Anjou, Packham, Red Bartlett pears
- Chile: Ambrosia (very nice ones!), Braeburn, Envy, Fuji, Granny Smith, JAZZ, Pink Lady/Cripps Pink, Royal Gala apples; Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Asian pears, Packham pears.
- New Zealand: Braeburn, Divine, Envy, Fuji, Granny Smith, JAZZ, Pacific Rose, Pink Lady/Cripps Pink, Royal Gala, Smitten apples; Bosc, Comice, Honey Belle, Taylors Gold, Velvetine pears.
In competitive fresh produce categories like apples and pears, differentiation, flavor, and quality are key, and it sounds like Oppy has it all in spades.