Jan. 25, 2021

December: Autumn Glory & Cosmic Crisp Enjoy Nationwide Growth

December was a very strong month for apples and pears, which were up 7% and 12% in dollar sales, respectively. Double-digit organic growth in both categories, combined with strong showings by core and emerging apple varieties, drove the great results.

Core and emerging apple varieties led dollar growth in December. Core varieties (Honeycrisp, Gala, Granny Smith, and Fuji) all had steady growth, ranging from 3-15%. Proprietary varieties, including Cosmic Crisp® and Autumn Glory® boasted large dollar gains. These gains were partially offset by dollar declines in Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Cortland and Braeburn.

Autumn Glory® apple saw record December shipments, and we witnessed its growth nationwide. Sales were up 54%, and volume was up 102%. Autumn Glory excelled nationally, growing sales and volume by double- or triple-digits in most regions. Cosmic Crisp® apple continues to grow strongly, but is not to the level witnessed in December 2019. Cosmic Crisp nationally was up 7% in dollars, and 18% in pounds. Some regions saw sales growth in the triple digits, West North Central (+167%) and East South Central (+152%), while regions that carried Cosmic Crisp sales in 2019 slowed momentum: Pacific (-33%) and Mountain (-7%). Cosmic Crisp availability spread nationally, due to increased volumes in the second year. Strong consumer programs continue the momentum of 2019, but there is much opportunity for retailers to help with merchandising programs. The Cosmic Crisp retailer tool-kit is an excellent resource for building displays and digital programs.

December apple growth was strong, with category dollars up 7%, though volume was flat at 0.3%. The average price per pound was up 6.6% to $1.67/lb. Retail prices were all moving to the industry average. Proprietary varieties decreased to become more competitive with core and mature varieties. Core and mature varieties, however, rose in price with increased demand and the market rising, overall helping category growth. The proprietary price decline was evident with Cosmic Crisp, declining -9% to $2.65/lb. and Autumn Glory declining -24% to $1.85/lb. All other proprietary varieties also experienced a decrease in price per pound as well.

The pear category was up +12% in sales, and 6% in volume. Average price per pound was up +5% to $1.60/lb. Strong sales were a result of strong core pear growth: Bartlett (+17%), Anjou (+11%), Bosc (+12%), and Asian pears (+8%), along with Red Bartletts that were up an outstanding +107% in sales. Asian pears experienced a stellar +21.8% increase of price per pound to $4.96/lb. Superfresh Growers will have a steady supply of Asian pears through the spring.

Organic apple share continued at a record percentage of 15.9% of category dollars, and 11.4% in volume. Organics sales are up 10%, though volume is flat at -0.9%. Price per pound is up 11% to an average of $2.29/lb.

Organic pear growth continued its momentum from November, up 11% in dollars, and 13% in volume. They still had a high category share of 15% for dollars, and 11% for volume, though those were down from record November percentages.

Packaged apples and pears have remained strong during COVID-19, though they had moved to pre-COVID volume averages in October and November. For December, we are seeing slight rises over pre-COVID averages again. 41% of apple volume was packaged compared to the pre-COVID average of ~40%. 21% of pear volume was packaged compared to the pre-COVID average of ~18-20%. Nationally spiking numbers of COVID-19 cases seem to be shifting focus back to packaged apples and pears for convenience and perceived food safety.

We are here to support you during COVID-19 and continue to supply safe, fresh, and nutritious Northwest fruit.

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding the attached reports.