Honeybear Brands Teases New Varietals and More at PMA Fresh Summit
- by Kayla Webb
ELGIN, MN - The apple fandom is no joke. With new varieties cropping up every day for apple fans to flock to, it’s no wonder the apple category is amongst those that reign in the produce aisle. While Honeybear Brands already has a whole slew of varieties for apple enthusiasts to pick from, the company is heading into this year’s PMA Fresh Summit with even more new varieties up its sleeve that attendees will not want to miss.
I chatted with Don Roper, Vice President Sales and Marketing, to find out more about Honeybear Brands’ 100+ new varieties in development—some of which you can take a bite out of in Orlando, FL, at booth #2927—and one in particular that the company is promoting this autumn.
“We had great weather in Washington and the Midwest for harvest, so this should be an exceptional season for color, with fruit condition coming in above average despite smaller crop sizes,” Don tells me. “At Honeybear, we’re meticulous about product quality with every new variety we bring to market. This season, quality has never been better: perfect color, guaranteed explosively crisp bites, and that sweet and tart flavor that we know brings apple buyers back time after time to the store. It has been a strong market right from the start, and now that we finally have retail shelves filled, we are starting to get production in balance with demand. We are in the key fall apple months so there will be significant promotions of varieties, including our new First Kiss® MN 55.”
A tart and juicy apple—which Don jokes is just like a real first kiss: memorable—the First Kiss variety stands out with its exceptional flavor, striking scarlet red color, and incredible texture and crunch. First Kiss is also an early maturing apple, making it one of the first varieties to make it to market.
“At our booth, we’re sampling a number of varieties, so there’s plenty to see and try. On deck, we have Pazazz and First Kiss. It’s a rare opportunity to try this new variety as it sold out very quickly at retail when it launched Labor Day weekend,” Don shares. “We’re also soliciting feedback on some early varieties still in development from our varietal development program—showing retail buyers what the apple deck may look like a few years down the line. We have close to one hundred new varieties in various stages of testing and commercial development, and visitors to our booth will have the opportunity to try some of them!”
As it develops new varieties, Honeybear remains focused on creating a portfolio of varieties that offer retailers and their apple-loving customers a spectrum of flavors, textures, and eating experiences. This helps retailers build their apple programs with guaranteed varietal diversity and fresh-and-new varieties like First Kiss that keep consumers buying all season long.
“We have a very busy year ahead of us, and there are lots of changes happening at our infrastructure level, too. We’ve doubled our packaging capabilities in the Midwest, invested in our transportation and logistics services in order to continue bringing best in class support to our retailers wherever they are, and Pazazz has now grown so significantly, that we have our first dedicated Brand Manager, Kristi Harris, on staff,” Don continues. “Come and say hi at our PMA booth.”
You heard the man, go say hi to Honeybear Brands at PMA! If you need an incentive, there will be delicious apples to try!