WENATCHEE, Wash. – Stemilt BB #:113654 will launch its new EZ Band sustainable 4-pack package for Rave and SweeTango apples this fall to offer consumers a recyclable packaging option and drive sales of larger-sized fruit with a convenient grab-and-go design.
Stemilt Marketing Director, Brianna Shales, explains how the EZ Band is the first-of-its-kind in the United States and easy on the shopper, retailer, and the earth.
According to The Food Industry Association, a recent FMI Sustainability in the Food Industry report indicates grocery shoppers have expressed a desire for recyclable, sustainable, and packaging made from recyclable materials. Stemilt designed the EZ Band as a sustainable package to be easy on the shopper and the earth with fully recyclable materials and a convenient shape for stacking into display-ready Euro boxes. The tray will hold 4 apples of large size profiles and will be sold off the count, with a UPC on the bottom of the band for easy ringing at the register.
“It’s a new way of packing and selling apples in the United States,” says Shales. “These larger sizes are traditionally sold by the pound off a PLU sticker. This new pack is a step towards increasing purchase size and brand awareness while providing retailers with an easy and effective merchandising solution in-store or online. It will move through self-checkout stations with ease. We also foresee automation capabilities in packing the fruit down the road to bring efficiency to a pack that aims to delight consumers.”
The EZ Band was created in response to the high demand for grab-and-go items in grocery stores that came during the Covid-19 pandemic. Stemilt knows that consumers and today’s Gen Z shoppers gravitate toward convenience but wants to meet their needs from a sustainable standpoint.
“Not long ago, apple sales were about 80% bulk and 20% in bags or packaging,” says Shales. “Those numbers started to skew during and after the pandemic and we’re now seeing about 60% of apples sold in bulk and 40% in bags. We simply can’t grow fruit sized only for bags, so we zeroed in on working on a package for bulk fruit sizes that would be easier to merchandise for retailers.”
To ensure retailers are catching the right ring at the point of sale, a UPC on the packaging will also aim to efficiently move apples through the register and self-checkout stations. The package includes a tray that holds the apples and a paper band that is machine-tightened around the tray to hold the apples. Each unit offers shoppers visibility to the fruit. Stemilt is launching the EZ Band package with proprietary Rave and SweeTango apples because it will help raise consumer awareness about each brand and its unique attributes.
“While developing the EZ Band, we knew we wanted to sell apples in a format that drives apple sales and reduces some of the labor involved in selling bulk apples,” explains Shales. “The package will be in a testing stage this fall starting with Rave and SweeTango, and we will have both a conventional and organic option available for SweeTango.”
For more information about the EZ Band by Stemilt, reach out to your Stemilt Sales Rep.
Stemilt is a family-owned grower, packer, and shipper of tree fruit. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt’s mission is to cultivate people and delight consumers with its World Famous Fruits. Stemilt is a leader in sweet cherries and organic tree fruits, and a key supplier of apples and pears. The company stewards an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business through its Responsible Choice program, which has been in place since 1989. For more information about Stemilt, visit www.stemilt.com.