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CMI Orchards gears up for apple of the year Kanzi launch

Rapidly increasing retail and consumer demand combined with a much larger harvest has CMI Orchards preparing retailers for the strongest season to date for Kanzi apples. That’s good news for supermarkets as Kanzi has been one of the fastest-selling new apples to hit retail shelves.Kanzi-at-retail-5-box-shipper

According to Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, consumer demand for Kanzi solidified last season launching sales of the apple to record levels. “Kanzi sales skyrocketed last season, jumping by over 92 percent,” Lutz said in a press release. “The amazing thing is Nielsen scan data shows that among the 25 highest selling apple varieties, Kanzi was No. 1 in dollar growth increase. Consumers have discovered Kanzi.”

Lutz said prime months for Kanzi start in the early winter as local apples decline and supermarkets typically look for something new to energize their apple category. National distribution of Kanzi historically builds quickly in early January, continuing to rise through April.

According to Steve Castleman, senior vice president of sales for CMI Orchards, over the last few years growers responded to strong Kanzi demand by increasing acreage, quickly pushing production up and opening new opportunities for retailers. Castleman said in his 30-plus years in the produce business Kanzi reminds him of the kind of loyalty Honeycrisp generated in the early years after it was first released.

“Coming into this season, retail demand was so strong for Kanzi we opened our CA rooms early,” said Castleman. “I fully expect Kanzi will be in more than 7,000 stores nationally shortly after the first of the year.”

Castleman said that due to near-perfect growing conditions, Kanzi fruit size is running two sizes larger than normal, creating promotional opportunities in large sizes. “Retailers know that sales of jumbo-sized fruit peak from mid-December to the end of January. For the first time we’re able to offer retailers hot promotions on Kanzi featuring size 48 and 56 apples.”

Lutz added that Kanzi is an apple with very intense flavors so it has captured a loyal following in markets that are traditionally strong for tangy apples like McIntosh, Pink Lady and Braeburn. “Consumers that prefer intense, highly flavored apples love Kanzi. Some of the best Kanzi markets are actually in the South where snowbirds go during the winter months.

CMI said supplies of Kanzi are available now and the season should continue into April with imported Kanzi from the Southern Hemisphere set to arrive as domestic supplies decline.