Grab’n’go packaging to be offered by Rainier Fruit Co. this season is expected to drive additional apple sales at retail. “We installed new mesh bagging equipment this summer which — in addition to our current mesh header bag — gives us the option to pack a wrap-around mesh pouch bag,” said Director of Marketing Suzanne Wolter. “The band completely wraps down the front and back, allowing the bag to stand up on display and providing more labeling area to call out the variety.”
From its headquarters in Yakima, WA, the company is one of the premiere apple grower-packer-shippers in the Pacific Northwest. The company offers a full slate of conventional and organic apples and holds exclusive rights to two rising stars, the Junami and Lady Alice varieties.
Junami has been favorably received at retail. The variety, a cross between Maigold, IdaRed and Elstar varieties, is a juicy apple with a memorable flavor.
This is the sixth season Lady Alice has been marketed domestically. This variety is subtly sweet with a hint of tartness and has a dense cell structure.
The stand-out stand-up bag, which features a handle, will also help consumers identify these exclusive varieties which are available with limited volume.
“ ‘Rainier’ brand Honeycrisp are building quite a following among consumers and will also be packed in this bag,” Wolter went on to say.
“The additional print space create a higher ‘impulse’ incentive. Compared to other gusseted bags, this is fully automated, providing for better packingline efficiencies,” she added.
Wolter said the 2013 harvest is seven to 10 days ahead of last year’s timetable. “We’ll be into the heart of harvest by mid-September, and we’ll finish early/mid November with Pink Lady,” she stated.
Approximately 20 percent of the company’s volume is organic. “We’ll have an increase in the organic Honeycrisp this season and expect to have availability into May/June 2014,” she said of the popular variety.
Although she expects overall apple volume will be down slightly this season when compared to 2012, Wolter said this isn’t a problem “given the Eastern supplies will be excellent.” Rainier is looking for good quality and a nice mix of sizes to satisfy customer requirements.
Social media continue to provide Rainier with successful strategies to boost sales. “There is definitely more interest from the retail community with regard to collaborative social media efforts,” Wolter stated. “It’s exciting to work with the various marketing departments, assisting them with product health information, recipes product tips, etc.,” she commented.