Sep. 25, 2020

Organic Apple & Pear Growth is Strong

Organic apples and pears had the strongest monthly growth Superfresh Growers has recently seen. Both categories were up nearly 30% in the month of August. Organic apples were up 30% in dollars, while organic pears were up 29% in volume. Since COVID-19, organic dollars have been climbing, and this is the third month in a row where apple growth has been up more than 19%.

The overall apple category has maintained good sales as we emerge from summer, despite a late Labor Day and a COVID-disrupted back-to-school schedule. Apple volume was up 2% in volume and flat in dollars, due to a 2% lower retail price average of $1.71. Honeycrisp sales led the way, up 17%, with Fuji apples following close behind at +11%, according to Nielsen data of the last four weeks ending September 5, 2020.

Pear demand rebounded in August to 2% growth in dollars, due to a 7% rise in average price per pound. Bartlett pears led the way with 8% growth in dollars, despite -4% in volume, reflecting a shorter California Bartlett pear crop. The average Bartlett price per pound was up a whopping 13% over last year. We are already seeing an orderly and firm market transition from California to Pacific NW pears.

Asian pears continue to do exceptionally well, up 31% in dollars, and 18% in volume. Superfresh Asian pear harvest is under way, and we are seeing a very nice crop.

Organic apples continue to sell like crazy, up 30% in dollars and 23% in volume during August. Strong organic growth has become a trend during COVID-19, with June up 12% in dollars and 19% in volume, and July up 28% in dollars and 27% in volume. During August, organic dollar share represented an outstanding 15% of the category. Organic pears, rebounded, as expected, with the advent of the NW pear crop, up 5% in dollars and 29% in units, due to a -19% reduction in retail average versus last year.

Superfresh Gala apple harvest in September 2020.

Packaged apples and pears is another trend that has stayed strong during COVID-19. Forty-five percent of apple volume was packaged, up from a pre-COVID average of ~40%. Twenty-four percent of pear volume was packaged, up from the pre-COVID average of 18-20%. Bags and other consumer packages are popular for “stocking up,” value, perceived safety, and “grab-and-go” convenience.

To support the current packaging preferences, we are offering the Superfresh Kids™ bag program. Each apple variety has a unique game on the bag and is specially designed for little hands. The fun graphics and games attract the attention of kids in-store. Superfresh Kids bags are available in Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Honeycrisp apples.

Apple and pear harvest is about half-way through. All new crop pear varieties are now available. We are actively packing new crop Gala, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Red Delicious. Autumn Glory® apple harvest is just about to start, followed by Cosmic Crisp® and Pink Lady® apples.

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