Sep. 02, 2020

Summer Apple Demand Grows

As summer months pass, apple demand has stayed strong, showing that apples continue to be a summer staple in the United States. With more people eating from home and traveling less, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Gala, and Fuji remain on the American dining table. Looking at Nielsen data for the four weeks ending August 8, apples are up 4% in dollars and 5% in volume. Honeycrisp demand is outstanding, up 44% in volume and 35% in dollars. Granny Smith has also stayed strong this summer, with volume up 12%. As new crop Gala, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith apples enter the market in August and September, these upward trends should remain firm and maybe even lead to record-breaking sales.

Pear demand has dipped to 2% growth in dollars and is flat in volume. Despite the category dipping, Bartlett pears have held their own, up 19% in dollars and 14% in volume. This bodes well for the NW crop that began harvest in early August. Asian pears are also doing well, up 34% in dollars and 30% in volume. Superfresh Asian pear harvest will start in early September, and we will have an excellent promotable crop.

Organic apples are like a freight train that continues to build momentum this summer, with increased monthly growth. In the last four months ending August 8, organic apples were up 28% in dollars and 26% in volume. Organic dollar share represents an outstanding 15% of the category, which we saw in the four weeks before these, but before that, had hovered closer to 10%. Organic pears, however, took a plummet these last four weeks, down -42% in both dollars and volume. This was likely due to a gap in supply with fewer imports this year. As we write this, a strong NW pear crop is already underway, and we should see a substantial uptick with the next round of data.

Packaged apples and pears are another trend that has stayed strong during COVID-19. 44% of apple volume was packaged, up from a pre-COVID average of ~40%. 25% 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.

Gala apples had the most volume on promotion, 7.8 MM lbs, representing 18% of overall Gala sales ($9.1 MM). Bartlett pears led with 20% on promo, representing $1.4MM in promo dollars.

We have multiple labor-saving display options, including floor bins and display-ready cartons, to make work more accessible to the produce department and supply chain operations staff. These options all display on a pallet and are shipped display-ready. We will also have newly designed packaging for our Superfresh Organics program, especially in our 4lb bag program.

Apple and pear harvest is underway with organic and conventional Honeycrisp apples, Gala apples, and Bartlett pears. We will begin picking organic and conventional Bosc pears, Anjou pears, Granny Smith apples, and Fuji apples in early September.

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