Apple harvest is winding down in Washington state just as apple promotions are ramping up in produce departments. Retailers are in the midst of celebrating October’s National Apple Month and preparing for big holiday promotions around apples. Stemilt Growers, one of the nation’s longest and leading suppliers of organic apples, is reminding retailers to use the fall and winter time to keep their market share of organic apples with new and ample promotion opportunities from its Artisan Organics program.
“The organic apple crop in Washington state is very high quality this year, with high-colored fruit and slightly larger-than-normal sizing that lends well to bulk promotions,” said Stemilt Marketing Director Roger Pepperl. “This time of year is historically a time when local apples are merchandised and organics can take a backseat since they aren’t readily available in all regions. However, now is not the time to ignore one of the fastest growing items in produce — organics. Organics are growing rapidly — especially in the produce department – and the fall and winter is the ideal time to promote organic apples with the same vigor and excitement as conventional apples.”
According to the Organic Trade Association and Nielsen Fresh Facts scan data, more than half of households in the United States purchase organic produce. In 2016, organic produce grew by 16.4 percent in dollar sales when compared to the year prior. The 2015-16 organic apple crop was down in volume from normal, but increased 6.2 percent in dollars over the year prior, making up nearly 10 percent of the total apple category dollar sales, and 7 percent of the volume sold. The fastest growing organic apple varieties last season were: Fuji, Honeycrisp, Gala, and Pink Lady, which highlights the fact the organic shoppers are not only willing to pay a premium for organic, but also for new, flavorful varietals.
“Organic apples are an important part of the overall apple category, and need to be promoted regularly between now and June. We encourage retailers to include organic produce in every weekly ad, and apples should be a big focus in those ads since they are in season and incredible in quality this year,” said Pepperl.
Stemilt has been growing apples organically since 1989 and long before organics became trendy. The company grows organic apples in Washington State, where an arid climate and little precipitation results in cleaner, higher color organic fruit. Nearly 30 percent of Stemilt’s apple crop is grown and certified organic, with a focus on the varietals that consumers demand, including Honeycrisp, Pinata, Pink Lady and more.
This year, Stemilt’s industry leading Artisan Organics program has grown to include a new 4-pound pouch bag of organic Fresh Blenders apples, as well as a full line-up of organic offerings in its popular Lil Snappers kid-sized fruit pouch bags.