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Honeycrisp grows to a quarter of the U.S. apple sales pie


One variety made up nearly a quarter of U.S. apple sales in January 2018 according to Stemilt’s latest Fruit Tracker Fast Facts video analysis of Nielsen retail scan data. Honeycrisp continues to earn its share of the apple sales pie, accounting for 24.1 percent of U.S. apple sales in January 2018. This was an increase of 10.8 percent

“The trend of growth in both volume and dollar sales of Honeycrisp continued as we welcomed the new year. This is due to increased national supplies of Honeycrisp in the 2017 apple crop, but also great consumer demand for this favorite variety. The average retail price of Honeycrisp in January 2018 was $2.46, or 50.9 percent higher than the average retail price for all apples ($1.63). Even with its success story, the increases in Honeycrisp were not enough to reverse a downward year-over-year trend on apple sales and volume,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager.

Apples made up 6 percent of total produce department sales in January 2018, which was down from last year’s 6.8 percent in January. The central region beat the U.S. average and led other regions with 6.8 percent of its produce dollars coming from apples.

The top five apple varieties in terms of volume in January 2018 were Gala (25.9 percent share), Honeycrisp (16 percent), Fuji (13.2 percent), Granny Smith (10.8 percent) and Red Delicious (10.7 percent). Approximately 57.6 percent of apples were sold bulk while the remaining 42.4 percent fell under the bag category. Bags are up 2.6 percent when compared to January 2017, due to smaller fruit size and tight supplies on bulk.

“The three-pound bag continues to be the top avenue for bag sales,” said Shales. “Six out of every 10 bag purchases are in this weight while five-pound bags rank second. In a crop with more opportunities on bags than bulk, it’s important that retailers look towards larger package sizes, like three and five pounds, to drive volume sales of apples.”

Shales said Stemilt’s existing Lil Snappers three-pound pouch bag program has been a great merchandising avenue for retailers this year because of its ability to market intent to parents looking to buy healthy, kid-sized foods for their children’s lunches and snacks. The brand has great distribution in the U.S. and Canada and has been a big promotion driver at retail.

As the spring season approaches, Stemilt is planning organic Earth Day (April 22) and festive Piñata Apple Cinco de Mayo (May 5) ads with its retail partners. The company saw its long-time leadership in organic apples increase in the 2017 crop with orchards completing the three-year transition to organics. The company has many merchandising options for its Artisan Organics apples, including a new five-pound organic Apple Lover pouch bags designed to increase organic purchase size.

Stemilt is supporting Piñata apple promotions during the Cinco de Mayo celebration with an exciting digital program to reach Millennial and GenZ shoppers via food influencers and some of their favorite food channels on social media.

“Spring is a still a great season for apple promotions. In fact, apples made up 6.3 percent of total produce sales in the U.S. in March 2017,” said Shales. “It’s important for retailers to continue executing multi-variety apple ads at least once a month. Focus bagged apple promotion opportunities around brands like Lil Snappers and Artisan Organics to drive both volume sales and shopper loyalty.”