Rely On Us For These Favorites, and Be Wowed By These Exciting Offerings

Attached to endless mythologies and fairy tales, there are few fresh products so famous as the apple. In fact, there is so much to do within the category that varieties are being produced specifically to shine in apple-favored approaches like baking, snacking, or steeping. With so many roads to walk, we asked for directions from some apple lovers and experts. Find out what they had to say...

 

 CATHERINE GIPE-STEWART

Communications Manager, Superfresh Growers®

“The best way to sell apples is by tasting them in-store and emphasizing flavor notes. In our barriers to consumption research, we found that taste and flavor are one of the top factors when buying apples. Especially with newer varieties, it’s vital that consumers have a chance to try them. Our signature apple, Autumn Glory®, for example, has delicious caramel, cinnamon, and apple cider notes reminiscent of the season it is named for. When sampled, consumers fall in love with it and seek out the unique flavor notes. We hear from consumers all the time how excited they were that the apple delivered on the caramel and cinnamon notes.”

 

GEORGE HARTER

Vice President of Marketing,CMI Orchards

“When it comes to merchandising, you have to create excitement within the category. We have plenty of data that shows making apples fun and telling a story increases sales greatly. This can be done in many ways—digitally, pouch bags with flavor profiles, etc. At CMI Orchards, we use the American Dream program, for example, which gives us an off-shelf display that connects with consumers. We also love when retail customers run contests because everyone wants a chance to win, and competition within the stores really helps them turn around and drive sales.

Finally, organics is huge, but not everyone has branded organic like we do. Six of our seven branded apples are organic, helping our partners sell more for more, meaning they can offset deflation by selling an alternative branded apple, and that brand, again, helps to tell that story.”

 

BRIANNA SHALES

Senior Marketing Manager, Stemilt Growers

“Apples are a top snacking item among consumers today and are—by nature—one of the best portable produce items around! Snacking is a big trend in food, and retailers can power apple sales around snacking by highlighting the fact that apples are ready anytime and anywhere. Stemilt has a great ‘Pack, Snack, Play’ merchandising display that helps bring in a pallet display of this popular fruit in a key location to move extra volume. Big apple displays not only move big volumes, but also offer retailers the opportunity to keep educating shoppers about the snackability of apples and the many new flavors out there that are worth trying!”

 

 

TIM YORK

President, Markon Cooperative

“I grew up in Southern California, and my family had fruit trees in our yard, one of which was a Red Delicious apple tree. These were the striped ones, not ruby red like they are today, but oh so crisp and sweet. The apple category has been through a renaissance—it used to be just Red Delicious, Gold Delicious, and later Granny Smiths. Apples are the quintessential fall fruit. We all love apple pies and fresh-pressed cider, but this year, I’ve seen chefs take advantage of their crispness in more surprising ways. I recently tried an Asian-style burger made with pork, chopped Granny Smiths, soy sauce, and other spices—really unique. I also loved a pulled-pork BBQ sandwich that incorporated Galas and ginger. What was once considered a stale category is alive and making its way into more global cuisines.”

 

RANDY ABHOLD

President, Rainier Fruit Company

“Apple harvest is my favorite time of year. When the air becomes brisk and apples are picked at the peak of their flavor, it represents the possibilities of the coming season when our planning and work is realized and our marketing and sales plans are set into motion. But, it’s the varieties that are each unique in their harvest and flavor that keeps things interesting. For a crisp flavor in baked goods, Granny Smiths are classic. For a sweet treat, I naturally reach for an Envy™, and the tangy-tart flavor of the Pink Lady is unsurpassed in juices. My everyday snacking variety is the perfectly-balanced Lady Alice® or, of course, the perennial favorite—Honeycrisp. As many ways as there are to eat apples, I think one a day might be three shy of a wholesome diet!”

 

JASON BUSHONG

Division Manager, Giumarra Wenatchee

“The apple category offers consumers a vast array of eating experiences from tart to sweet, and everything in between. Additionally, apples store well and are durable, making them ideal for throwing in a lunch box or gym bag and eating on the run. They continue to be one of the top items in the produce department, and their snappy flavors, convenience, and health attributes keep consumers coming back for more. I’ve been involved in the apple industry for almost my entire life and love to snack on them straight up, but my family also likes to add them to salads and baked desserts.”

 

MAC RIGGAN

Director of Marketing, Chelan Fresh

“I think sometimes U.S. retailers and consumers take for granted that we grow the best apples on the planet right here in our own backyard. Take a step back and ask, ‘As a retailer, are we really celebrating that we have the world’s best apples?’ Examples of the fine new flavors coming from Washington State would reinforce your message about it having the finest apples on the planet. The Washington apple industry, where 70 percent of the U.S. supply of fresh apples are grown, is launching several new apple varieties with incredible eating characteristics. The Honeycrisp variety has been in great demand, and exciting new varieties such as SugarBee®, Rockit™, Envy™, Cosmic Crisp®, and others (even red-fleshed varieties) will reinvent the way the next generation of consumers think about the apple category. If you are telling customers they are eating the best apples on the planet—and Washington does grow the best in quality, in flavor, and in innovation—I think you will see sales rise. As we talk more and more about selling local, why not let America be local by taking pride in the wonder we have with Washington apples?”

 

 

BRIAN PENFIELD

Produce Director, Sendik’s Food Markets

“Apples are some of the most exciting fruits to merchandise, as there are so many items you can tie in in order to drive sales. We have found that tote bags of local favorites that are merchandised in wood bins create a great visual that our guests respond to, and merchandising them with caramel dips, caramel wraps, fresh peanut butter, and apple crisp mix cultivates a high-traffic destination. Honeycrisp apples are definitely the sales leader in the market, however, there has been some great excitement generated around new varieties such as Pink Pearl, SweeTango®, and EverCrisp®.”

 

JOE SHARP

Director of Procurement and Category Sales, Crosset Company

“Now that school is back in full-swing, our kids are eating a lot of apples! Especially since they make for a healthy pairing for any lunchbox. Whether it be at home with the kids or at work, we always look to sample new and unique varieties of apples like Rave®, EverCrisp®, and SweeTango® that bring excitement and excellent flavor into the category. These new varieties are gaining a ton of traction in our market, but, to date, have not been able to dethrone the Honeycrisp! So, we’ll expect big displays of both organic and conventional Honeycrisp next to fall décor and the many flavors of apple cider and candy apples in the coming weeks. Other varieties that tip in popularity include Midwest-grown apples such as Gala and Fujis, which offer an attractive display and a reasonable price point for consumers. Add caramel dip on the side, and it’s the perfect fall treat!”