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Bags out, bulk in for organic apricot sales

Summer’s official start also coincides with the harvest of one of the season’s most recognized flavors — apricots. With summer approaching, Stemilt Growers is encouraging retailers to start planning for the Artisan Organics apricot season and promotional window now.Stemilt-Apricot-Harvest-1245

“Time is of the essence,” said Brianna Shales, communications manager at Stemilt. “Planning needs to happen right now if retailers want to hit their stride in mid-June.”

According to Shales, retailers planning organic apricot promotions that focus on bulk sales will see results. Stemilt’s apricot season will start around June 20 and run through the month of July, with the promotional window for loading apricots beginning June 25 and running through July 15.

Shales also shared Stemilt’s apricot crop varies quite a bit compared to last year’s crop.

“Sizing has done a complete reversal from last year,” said Shales. “While last year brought smaller sizes and increased bag promotions, this year bulk is in. Sizing is going to be large with apricots in panta packs.”

Approximately 60 percent of Stemilt’s apricot crop is grown and certified organic. Stemilt’s Artisan Organics volume is heavy to the beginning of the season with the Robada variety. Stemilt recommends retailers kick off the season with organic apricots and a Fourth of July organic ad. Then, retailers can run organic and conventional ads as Rivals and Perfections become available after July 4.

“Our organic Robada apricots are known for their intense red blush and vibrant golden color,” said Shales. “With this year’s large sizing, they will stand out even more in the organic section. Merchandising apricots in a high-traffic area is a great way to drive impulse sales during the July 4th holiday.”

Following July 4, focus shifts to Rivals and Perfections with retailers still able to emphasize organic. The post-holiday timeframe is ideal for bulk ads on both conventional and organic apricots, with sizes ranging from large to jumbo.

“Encouraging consumers to buy organic through this promotion window will push volumes and elevate sales dollars,” said Shales. “The organic category is continuously growing, and it’s important that retailers offer that option to their consumers.”

According to the Organic Trade Association, organic produce has been holding its position as the largest organic food category, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all organic food sales in 2016.

“Organic share will continue to rise,” said Shales. “Apricots offer retailers a great summertime organic offering to support organic category growth.”

Stemilt’s Artisan Organics stone fruits, which also include peaches and nectarines, come from the Douglas family orchards in the southeastern region of Washington state. The Douglases transitioned to organic more than a decade ago, citing the arid climate with cool nights as the main reason why they can grow dessert-flavored fruit organically.

“Summer is fast approaching and we are optimistic that the sizing, dessert flavors, and high percentage of organic apricots coming from the ideal Washington locale will make for a great season at retail," said Shales. "Plan now and promote big fruit in a big way as July rolls around.”