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Summer apple demand grows

Overview of the apple season, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.

Original published in TheProduceNews on September 03, 2020 

As summer months roll on by, apple demand has stayed strong, showing that apples continue to be a summer staple in the United States. With more people eating from home and traveling less, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Gala, and Fuji continue to have their place on the American dining table.

Looking at Nielsen data of the four weeks ending Aug. 8, apples are up 4 percent in dollars, and 5 percent in volume.

Volumes and prices of Apples in the US market

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Honeycrisp demand is outstanding, up 44 percent in volume and up 35 percent in dollars. Granny Smith has also stayed strong this summer, with volume up 12 percent. As new crop Gala, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith apples enter the market in August and September, these upward trends should remain strong and maybe even lead to record-breaking sales.

Prices of apple varieties in the US market

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Pear demand has dipped to 2 percent growth in dollars and flat in volume. Despite the category dipping, Bartlett pears have held their own, up 19 percent in dollars and 14 percent in volume. This bodes well for the Northwest crop that began harvest in early August. Asian pears are also doing well, up 34 percent in dollars, and 30 percent in volume. Superfresh Asian pear harvest will start in early September and Superfresh Growers will have a nice promotable crop.

Volumes and prices of Pears in the US market

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Organic apples are like a freight train that continue to build momentum this summer, with increased growth month over month. In these last four months ending Aug. 8, organic apples were up 28 percent in dollars and 26 percent in volume. Organic dollar share represents an outstanding 15 percent of the category, which Superfresh Growers saw in the four weeks prior to these, but before that, had hovered closer to 10 percent. Organic pears, however, took a plummet these last four weeks, down 42 percent in both dollars and volume. This was likely due to a gap in supply with less imports this year. A strong Northwest pear crop is already under way, and we should be seeing a strong uptick with the next round of data.

Packaged apples and pears is another trend that has stayed strong during COVID-19: 44 percent of apple volume was packaged, up from a pre-COVID average of 40 percent; 25 percent of pear volume was packaged, up from the pre-COVID average of 18-20 percent. Bags and other consumer packages are popular for “stocking up,” value, perceived safety, and “grab-and-go” convenience.

Gala apples had the most volume on promotion, 7.8 million pounds, which represented 18 percent of overall Gala sales ($9.1 million). Bartlett pears led with 20 percent on promo, representing $1.4 million in promo dollars.

Superfresh Growers has multiple labor saving display options, including floor bins and display-ready cartons to make work easier on produce department and supply chain operations staff. These options all display on a pallet, and are shipped display-ready. The company will have newly designed packaging for its Superfresh Organics program as well, especially in its four-pound bag program.

Apple and pear harvest is under way with organic and conventional Honeycrisp apples, Gala apples and Bartlett pears. In early September Superfresh Growers will begin picking organic and conventional Bosc pears, Anjou pears, Granny Smith apples and Fuji apples.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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