Stemilt pushes organic apples

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News and insight for North America's fresh produce buyers
Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Stemilt pushes organic apples

Roger Pepperl sees ideal opportunity for retailers to promote organic apples at this time of year

Stemilt pushes organic apples

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Stemilt Growers, one of the nation’s longest and leading suppliers of organic apples, has reminded US retailers to use the autumn and winter time to keep their market share of organic apples with new and ample promotion opportunities from its Artisan Organics programme.

“The organic apple crop in Washington State is very high quality this year, with high-coloured 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," he continued. "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 vigour and excitement as conventional apples.”

According to the Organic Trade Association and Nielsen Fresh Facts scan data, more than half of households in the US purchase organic produce. In 2016, organic produce grew by 16.4 per cent 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 per cent in dollars over the year prior, making up nearly 10 per cent of the total apple category dollar sales, and 7 per cent 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, flavourful varietals.
 
“Organic apples are an important part of the overall apple category, and need to be promoted regularly between now and June," he added. "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."

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