Oppy is looking to push premium apple varieties through the winter apple campaign, as it looks to drive sales through good flavour, crunch and eating experience.
David Nelley, vice-president of Oppy’s apple, pear and cherry categories, said that between the British Columbia (BC) Ambrosia, and Washington-grown Jazz, Envy, and Pacific Rose, the group is offering four of the top ten best-performing premium varieties in volume.
“Premium varieties now represent over one-third of all apples on the shelf,” Nelley said. “It’s no secret that consumers are demanding more from the apples they buy. Now our customers have the task of selecting the combination of varieties that most excite their shoppers and contribute to the category.
"With so many good apples to choose from, we’re pleased to see Ambrosia, Jazz, Envy and Pacific Rose allow retailers to be regionally right depending on the flavour profile down to store level," he added.
Nelley explained that growing conditions throughout the summer have yielded a crop of high quality and preferred size profile.
“The BC Ambrosia is absolutely stunning this year,” Nelley said. “Growing in volume in BC, Ambrosia rightly holds the number three spot on the premium apple sales performance list. It’s well-established with consumers and offers a colour break, with BC Tree Fruits rebranding in 2017 to segregate their superior quality standards over other Ambrosia grown around the province.”
Not far behind Ambrosia is Jazz, the “always refreshing” apple that began shipping in late October from Washington, which Nelley said was sizing larger this year with greater organic volumes.
“With the Washington crop showing awesome colour, this is the first time we’ve been able to offer Envy over a 12-month supply window,” Nelley outlined. “Growing by 24 per cent in category sales contribution in the last year, we continue to be very excited by Envy. Naturally non-browning, bright red and sweet, Envy’s wide appeal makes it the best apple to originate out of NZ since the Royal Gala when I started out in this business."
Those who prefer a delicate, sweet flavour could go for the Pacific Rose, Nelley continued, which has quietly fulfilled an important niche – skewing to a slightly older shopper with a higher household income than typical apple purchasers while also delivering strong results with ethnic retailers and in the stores of mainstream chains that serve Asian and Hispanic neighbourhoods.
“Pacific Rose has long enjoyed popularity with customers in Asia,” he said. “We’ve also built the market for it domestically in recent years, and have collaborated with T&G to develop a new brand and brand positioning for the apple which we believe will enhance its appeal in North America when it launches in December. Most of the Pacific Rose we offer is produced by the Crane Family Orchards in Brewster, Washington, whose perfect growing conditions and commitment make its quality exceptional.”