Sep. 25, 2020

Organic Apple & Pear Growth is Strong

Organic apples and pears had the most substantial monthly growth Superfresh Growers has recently seen. Both categories were up nearly 30% in 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's volume was up 2% 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 a 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 13% over last year. We already see 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 underway, and we see 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. As expected, organic pears rebounded 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 are 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 famous 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 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 halfway through. All new crop pear varieties are now available. We are packing new crop: Gala, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Red Delicious. Autumn Glory® apple harvest is about to start, followed by Cosmic Crisp® and Pink Lady® apples.

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