CMI Orchards' George Harter and Robb Myers Discuss Organic and Branded Apple Sales
- by Jessica Donnel
WENATCHEE, WA - As the fresh produce industry keeps developing and it becomes increasingly more difficult for retailers to stand out from the crowd, it now takes a little more ingenuity and strategy to unlock the biggest profits in the game. One way CMI Orchards’ Vice President of Marketing George Harter suggests retailers can tap into those larger category sales is to offer consumers a “a fourth tier of selling potential.”
“Most retailers carry first, second, and third tier items, which are the conventional core varieties, organic core varieties, and conventional branded apples, respectively,” he explained. “The retailers that are really benefiting from large profits in their apple category recognize the value in adding a fourth tier of selling to drive interest and excitement by offering another vehicle for incremental sales: branded organic apples.”
According to Harter, CMI grows and markets seven of the top twelve selling branded apples in the United States. Ambrosia, Jazz™, Envy™, Kanzi®, KIKU®, Pacific Rose™, and Smitten® apples all showed strong performance in Nielsen’s reports on the last 52 weeks of sales data sourced through December 29, 2018.
“Of these rock star conventional branded apples, CMI has really set ourselves apart by investing in branded organics,” Harter continued. “We can deliver organic Ambrosia, KIKU, Kanzi, Envy, and Smitten, providing retailers with some great options for leveraging the power of higher-value apples on the shelf.”
Nielsen data shows organic Ambrosia is the number one selling branded organic apple, Harter said, performing 95 percent higher in sales dollars than the second ranked branded organic apple. Harter noted that, of the five top selling branded organic apples, CMI carries three: Ambrosia, Kanzi, and Jazz apples. Organic Ambrosia had stronger sales performance than the second and third top performers combined, he added.
CMI growes around a quarter of Washington State's entire organic apple crop, said Robb Myers, Director of Domestic Sales for CMI Orchards, who continued: “That’s more than 100 million pounds annually. We’ve reached significant volume where we are close to being able to supply customers year-round with organics, supplemented by import organic apples in the summer.”
With branded organics, Myers added, CMI provides retailers a way to further segregate the expanding organic category even further.
“Put it this way, you can essentially amplify your set price points considerably with each tier, resulting in more sales for your stores,” Myers said. “If you’re offering only three tiers in your apple category, you’re missing a huge opportunity to capture dollars with branded organics.”
For more from the produce industry’s foremost experts on merchandising and category management, keep reading AndNowUKnow!