The once-flat US apple category is showing signs of life, according to leading supplier T&G Global, with branded varieties like Jazz, Envy and Pacific Rose attracting new apple shoppers.
T&G Global, the Auckland, New Zealand-based brand owner - along with Oppy and a host of supportive retailers - have helped push Jazz to a top three position in sales performance among premium apples.
“Fresh off the trees in Eastern Washington, this year’s Jazz crop is a beauty,” said Joe Barsi, president of T&G North America.
“While Jazz is well-established at retail, it continues to create excitement thanks to a faithful following, as well as new fans we’re winning with integrated consumer and trade marketing initiatives,” he continued. “Jazz began shipping in early October, following a brief respite between the New Zealand and Washington seasons, and customers were eager to restock as the first fruit came off the trees.”
Barsi noted that this is the first season Washington-grown Jazz apples will appear in the refreshed brand, which debuted with the New Zealand crop earlier this year. Like many Washington varieties, Jazz is sizing slightly smaller than typical this season.
Envy, which is peaking smaller as well, will be promoted in a highly visible retail roadshow in Texas next month, following appearances in Boston and San Francisco last summer, according to Barsi.
A US$4.2bn category in the US, apples have grown 1.3 per cent in volume and 2.1 per cent in sales between mid-year 2016 and mid-year 2017, driven by greater supplies and a consumer acceptance of a higher priced apple that delivers on taste, according to David Nelley, vice-president, categories for Oppy.
“Sales of premium apples are up 48 per cent since 2013,” he said. “That’s the segment of the apple market Oppy specialises in and has been known for, for years.
"Jazz, Envy and Pacific Rose deserve credit for rejuvenating the category," Nelley added. "We’re welcoming the US-grown Enza varieties knowing that we’re progressing positive category results.”
Envy is fifth place in sales among premium apples, and will be harvested in the third week in October, as will Pacific Rose.
“Envy sales increased over 60 per cent during the New Zealand season,” Nelley said. “Our most significant growth has been in California and the US Southeast, though other regions are not far behind. Meanwhile, Pacific Rose continues to carve out a niche with consumers who like a sweet alternative to a Fuji.”