Knowledge. Curiosity. Love. Power. Change.
I present to you just a few of the many words associated with apples, a fruit rooted so deeply in human history that it has become a symbol of some of our most cherished values. Whether you appeal to the mythological, biblical, or biological representations of the apple, it’s obvious why the fruit has become a permanent fixture across many cultures—and the produce department. Nobody understands this famed fruit better than those who bring it to store shelves, so why not take these supply-side tips and sow the seeds of category growth? The path to higher sales is already mapped out for you here…
“Apples are a key part of the produce department each November, representing 6.3 percent of the department’s dollars. This is a time where most core varieties are available for promotion and apple displays are prominent and robust for holiday sales. It’s ideal for retailers to plan multi-variety ads during the month, as it’s still the peak of fall when apples are top of mind. At Stemilt, we look to SweeTango® apples to carry into November this year as volumes have increased on this hit club apple that delivers a great flavor experience for the consumer. We will also be gearing up to launch Cosmic Crisp® apples back into the produce atmosphere in early December. Retailers are busy with holiday promotions this time of year, and it’s key that apples are part of that mix. They are a staple for classic Thanksgiving dishes and for any convenient snacking during this busy time of year.”
“Merchandising in the fall is when apples naturally shine. That should carry through the holiday season when apples are a part of everyone’s planning. Those utilizing in-store signage and point-of-sale (POS) materials to drive consumers to the full assortment of apples have seen excellent results and shown the category has something for all tastes. Standalone displays near the deli section help spark incremental growth as the charcuterie board crowd grabs meat and cheese. We’ve got a host of display mechanisms in various sizes that aid in that effort. The Juici™ variety continues to grow in volume, and this season, we’ll be able to expand distribution in all areas of the country. With these apples specifically, we have some display options that work well with 2 lb pouch bags, allowing us to tell the story of what Juici is and encourage the consumer to trial this new variety.”
“Apple season and the holidays go hand in hand. All season long, consumers are using baked apple goods to gather with their friends and family for the holidays. Consumers want to know their apples will create high-flavor recipes. Retailers should focus on driving sales by giving apples prime in-store placement and building eye-catching displays. This year, retailers can step up their game by also promoting National Opal® Apple Day on December 9, and educating the consumer on more non-traditional ways to cook with apples.”
“One successful trend we are seeing unfold is alternating Honeycrisp and Cosmic Crisp® apples on ad, rather than a solo focus on Honeycrisp. Data is showing that Honeycrisp households are resonating with Cosmic Crisp and are switching between the two varieties. This fall marks another year of this trend being successful. Many core varieties, including Honeycrisp, will be down in this short United States apple crop year. Newer proprietary varieties, however, continue to grow year-over-year in volume as orchards are being planted, trees maturing and growing in volume. Cosmic Crisp will be up 20 percent in conventional volume and up nearly 400 percent in organic. Autumn Glory® will be up 20 percent in conventional and up 5 percent in organic. Nielsen data shows consumers are resoundingly spending their hard-earned dollars on high-flavor varieties like Cosmic Crisp and Autumn Glory.”
“Retail advantages abound with so many fantastic apple varieties to choose from, each with their own unique flavor profile. Communicating these flavor experiences to consumers is key when promoting apples online or in store. Integrating signage, displays communicating what a specific variety has to offer or how it is grown, messaging on packaging, and targeted digital ads help drive trial, grow category sales, and promote repeat purchases. This can all be accomplished with an omnichannel approach, connecting consistent messaging throughout all touchpoints and marketing communications. CMI Orchards’ Flavogram® program catapults this need for flavor communication by taking cues from the wine industry with how flavor information is identified and shared. At CMI, we have the capability to customize our Flavogram tool to any retail merchandising set up or digital space, using an omnichannel approach and giving retailers the tools they need to deliver easy flavor referencing, so consumers can compare apples-to-apples.”
“When it comes to fresh apples, one variety is growing favor unlike any other. Envy™ is becoming the ‘Ultimate Apple Experience’ for most consumers who can find the product. Tracking consistent Nielsen double-digit acceleration, Envy consolidates its growth in the category, attracting high-value shoppers. It’s truly a joy to come to work every day and support our growers’ product. We often receive positive correspondence from consumers who have just found Envy and have made it their apple of choice, with some saying it has elevated their expectations of what an apple can be. There is great momentum and increased recognition in the market as consumers discover Envy apples. With Envy being a sought-after, everyday premium apple brand among consumers, this is a great opportunity for retailers to add and expand Envy in their produce sets.”
“From propagation to marketing, Proprietary Variety Management (PVM) introduces differentiated branded apples that meet consumer demand and give retailers ongoing opportunities to create successful promotions. Our family of apple brands include Cosmic Crisp®, Pink Lady®, Sunrise Magic®, and Lucy™—all of which are unique not only in appearance and eating characteristics, but also in branding and marketing. We believe this approach engages consumers and creates excitement around the entire apple category. Promoting these differentiated brands gives shoppers a reason to think twice about apples and tempts them to try something new.
Tools such as in-store events, sampling, digital campaigns, social media promotions, merchandising contests,
and others are key to creating and sustaining momentum.”
“Fall is definitely one of my favorite times of the year! I love everything about apple season on the farm, in the packing shed, and in the grocery store! The sights, the smells—it’s all a celebration of the hard work that went into producing the crop. In the fall, everyone wants apples; our challenge as apple marketers is to generate interest in apples the rest of the year. This starts with quality, making sure the SnapDragon® apple that a consumer purchases in October is the same SnapDragon apple a consumer purchases in March or June in terms of flavor, texture, and quality. After ensuring quality, we need to remind consumers that fresh apples are the perfect food for satisfying hunger in a nutritious and convenient way. Social media channels provide the opportunity to do this in new and fun ways. Always pack a Snap to fuel your day!”
“We’re very optimistic about this year’s Washington apple crop for a couple of reasons. Every year, we have more and more of those emerging premium varieties coming on—such as KORU®, Rockit™, SugarBee®, Lucy™, and Cosmic Crisp®—which is exciting. This offers retailers that much more opportunity to really excite their customers in the apple section. At the same time, Chelan Fresh is maintaining a healthy, promotable volume of core varieties, like Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, and more. We are also seeing a good crop of organic apples this year. This strong organic volume allows for more value pricing in the organic apple category, which means more consumers can afford organics, leading to new customers for the category. Across our portfolio, we really focus on staying consistent in terms of quality. Between growing, packing, and sorting operations, the Washington apple industry produces what I think are some of the most premium products out there.”
“Great apples come from even better growers, and Yes! Apples works with the best in the business. We work with 50-plus growers throughout all growing regions in New York, collaborating on varieties, growth projections, and producing apples that delight! One variety we’re particularly excited about is EverCrisp®. With Honeycrisp and Fuji as parents, EverCrisp packs a BIG crunch full of sweet juiciness. While it may not be the quintessential ruby red apple we’ve all come to look for in the produce department, all you need is one bite to make EverCrisp your new favorite apple. This upcoming season, Yes! Apples will be working with retailers to highlight the sensational eating qualities of EverCrisp and to educate customers not to be dissuaded by EverCrisp’s bi-color, speckled skin. In addition to EverCrisp, look out for SweeTango®, SnapDragon®, RubyFrost®, and favorites like Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Gala from Yes! Apples: sweetening life one apple at a time!”
“We’re looking forward to another great year-round season of Envy™ following a year of exceptional growth. Envy reached the number seven spot in United States sales dollars for the 2021–2022 crop year, and this season, we’re excited for even more promotional opportunities. Timely is Envy’s annual partnership with the Hallmark Channel™, which launched November 1. During this key selling time, Rainier can build customizable promotions both in-store and digitally to generate excitement in the apple category!”