Stemilt Announces Summertime Sales and Volume Growth Across Apple Category
- by Jenna Plasterer
WENATCHEE, WA - It seems as though consumers everywhere are taking the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” to heart as shown by Stemilt’s recent edition of “Fast Facts: The Cast" video series. In the most recent installment, the grower announced that it has seen strong summertime apple category performance as the pandemic continues to effect shopper habits across the produce industry.
“It’s encouraging to see apple dollars up 3 percent and volume up 4.3 percent year-over-year during the past three months,” said Brianna Shales, Senior Marketing Manager. “The summer months are generally a slower time for apple promotions, but good availability and quality, larger pack sizes, and consumer interest in apples has helped this category stay strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Retailers are certainly making apples convenient for shoppers to grab-and-go during these unusual times.”
Data presented in the Fast Facts video series comes from the latest Nielsen retail scan data from the 12-week period ending August 22. According to a press release, the Nielsen data showed that the top five apple varieties sold by volume were Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious. Gala apples alone made up 27 percent of apple category dollars, and each variety besides Red Delicious, which has evolved into a value offering, has seen year-over-year increases.
“Fuji and Gala were both up in volume and dollars, but could have benefitted from more promotion this summer,” explained Shales. “They are the workhorses of the apple category all year. As we head into the fall and peak apple promotion time, we encourage retailers to promote consumer favorites like Honeycrisp, but do so while promoting core varieties like Fuji, Gala, and Granny Smith. This will drive tonnage up for the apple category.”
With the pandemic changing the way consumers buy their produce, packaged apples have made a splash as during this period they made up 34 percent of category dollars, up 3 percent from last year, and 42 percent of category volume, 5 percent more than a year ago.
To meet the growing demand for bagged apples, Stemilt has reinvigorated an age-old concept by introducing its Farm + Famous paper tote bag. The newly released bags hold up to 4 lbs of apples, each with PLU stickers for quick register lookup, but pre-packaged to manage additional handling by shoppers and produce employees.
“Selling more apples in bags is a trend we expect to see continue this fall. Packaged apples were growing pre-pandemic and then grew rapidly since March. However, bulk still makes up the majority of apple sales, making bulk an opportunity to adapt the strategy on this fall,” continued Shales. “The Farm + Famous tote bag is a great solution for bulk apple sales as the COVID-19 pandemic likely continues this fall and winter. Retailers can sell apples at a per pound price but limit the time they spend setting up displays and handling fruit. Consumers will love the grab-and-go bag and the fact that it is 100 percent recyclable.”
As fall quickly approaches and the apple category takes on a new life, Stemilt is urging retailers to take advantage of seasonal demand through new promotions. The grower advises stocking up on Honeycrisp apples, a fall favorite, which will boost sales. The company also recommends staying abreast of what club varieties their shoppers are on the hunt for and building large apple displays to draw the eyes of customers.
“Apples are a big part of produce department sales during the next several months, and it will be important to build creative displays to help shoppers quickly pick-up this fruit,” said Shales. “Stemilt has signature apple varieties, hit packaged brands like Lil Snappers® kid-size fruit, and an entire modern mix of Artisan Organics™ apples to help retailers keep building the momentum and success with apples.”
If apples are what your produce aisle is in need of, look no further than Stemilt as the grower continues to impress with its fall-ready lineup of delicious fruit. What will the rest of the season have in store for Stemilt as autumn brings crisp breezes, fallen leaves, and a renewed love of delicious apples? Keep reading ANUK for updates.