Yakima, WA-September 25, 2020 – Organic apples and pears had the strongest monthly growth Superfresh Growers BB #:113721 has recently seen.
Both categories were up nearly 30% in August. Organic apples were up 30% in dollars, while organic pears were up 29% in volume. Since COVID-19, organic dollars have been climbing, and this is the third month in a row where apple growth has been up more than 19%.
The overall apple category has maintained good sales as we emerge from summer, despite a late Labor Day and a COVID-disrupted back-to-school schedule. Apple volume was up 2% in volume and flat in dollars, due to a 2% lower retail price average of $1.71.
Honeycrisp sales led the way, up 17%, with Fuji apples following close behind at +11%, according to Nielsen data of the last four weeks ending September 5, 2020.
Pear demand rebounded in August to 2% growth in dollars, due to a 7% rise in average price per pound. Bartlett pears led the way with 8% growth in dollars, despite -4% in volume, reflecting a shorter California Bartlett pear crop. The average Bartlett price per pound was up a whopping 13% over last year. We are already seeing an orderly and firm market transition from California to Pacific NW pears.
Asian pears continue to do exceptionally well, up 31% in dollars, and 18% in volume. Superfresh Asian pear harvest is under way, and we are seeing a very nice crop.
Organic apples continue to sell like crazy, up 30% in dollars and 23% in volume during August. Strong organic growth has become a trend during COVID-19, with June up 12% in dollars and 19% in volume, and July up 28% in dollars and 27% in volume.
During August, organic dollar share represented an outstanding 15% of the category. Organic pears, rebounded, as expected, with the advent of the NW pear crop, up 5% in dollars and 29% in units, due to a -19% reduction in retail average versus last year.
Packaged apples and pears is another trend that has stayed strong during COVID-19. Forty-five percent of apple volume was packaged, up from a pre-COVID average of ~40%. Twenty-four percent of pear volume was packaged, up from the pre-COVID average of 18-20%. Bags and other consumer packages are popular for “stocking up,” value, perceived safety, and “grab-and-go” convenience.
To support the current packaging preferences, we are offering the Superfresh Kids bag program. Each apple variety has a unique game on the bag and is specially designed for little hands. The fun graphics and games attract the attention of kids in-store. Superfresh Kids bags are available in Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Honeycrisp apples.
Apple and pear harvest is about half-way through. All new crop pear varieties are now available. We are actively packing new crop Gala, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Red Delicious. Autumn Glory apple harvest is just about to start, followed by Cosmic Crisp and Pink Lady apples.
We are here to support retailers and foodservice during COVID-19, and to continue to supply safe, fresh, and nutritious Northwest fruit.