CMI Orchards' George Harter Shines Light on Apple Market and Buy-Side Opportunities

Wed. February 16th, 2022 - by Peggy Packer

WENATCHEE, WA - Uncovering prosperous retail opportunities in the fresh department requires an understanding of both the market and the consumer. As we here at AndNowUKnow work to bring new insights to help drive sales, I got a chance to talk apples with CMI Orchards’ Vice President of Marketing George Harter.

George Harter, Vice President of Marketing, CMI OrchardsQuality and volume are looking good. We like what we’re seeing,” George says, giving me some exclusive details on the provider’s current apple supply. “The record heat last summer definitely played a role in the crop being down slightly this year over last.”

Volume and demand across the market have been steady. As George points out, this year’s crop presents new opportunities for buyers to capitalize on high-flavor, branded apples such as Ambrosia Gold, Kanzi®, KIKU®, Envy, Jazz, Pacific Rose, and EverCrisp®. CMI Orchards aligns with retail partners to develop customized go-to-market strategies, considering optimal promotional timing, harvest volume, and crop size profiles and leveraging digital marketing support, in-store signage, point-of-sale displays, and other ways to help increase category growth.

With quality and volume looking good this season, CMI Orchards presents a great opportunity for buyers this year to capitalize on high-flavor branded varieties such as Ambrosia Gold™, Kanzi®, KIKU®, Envy™, Jazz™, Pacific Rose™, and EverCrisp®

“It’s important to promote apples throughout the year,” George adds. “As a strategic partner, CMI strives to find new and creative ways to help drive sales and inspire and influence purchases of apples. The ever-changing digital landscape has opened some really exciting doors from a marketing standpoint for both shoppers and retailers. We’ve invested in in-house and third-party talent to help our retail partners capitalize on behind-the-scenes promotions that drive shoppers to a particular item we’re promoting. It’s incredibly easy to participate—you really don’t have to lift a finger. We’ll do all the work for you, and you can sit back and watch your sales climb.”

CMI Orchards also presents a benefit in the produce department by demonstrating its heightened commitment to sustainability—a cause that is defining many shoppers’ current buying behaviors.

“We have an optimistic view on the future, and packaging is becoming increasingly important as we strive toward sustainability,” notes George. “We want to be part of a collaborative effort from consumers all the way to suppliers to figure out what’s going to be sustainable for the future—not just from an earth standpoint, but equally considering market trends and getting to the bottom of what shoppers actually want. We’re not interested in perceived sustainability—as a company we genuinely care about getting into the nitty-gritty, comparing different packaging substrates and identifying the true carbon footprint of each.”

New and creative promotional strategies are available and easy to implement with sustainability top of mind, attracting shoppers and their evolving buying behaviors

In addition, the supplier showcases its commitment to a sustainable food system through its alliance with the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI).

“We recently became EFI certified on thousands of acres,” shares George. “Farmworkers are the lifeblood of our operation, and the EFI certification demonstrates CMI’s commitment to raising the standards for equitable and sustainable food systems.”

With new chances to harness the demand for apples arising for the buy-side, CMI Orchards is using its portfolio to prime its partners for success. Keep reading AndNowUKnow for the latest industry updates.

CMI Orchards