Strong organic apple and pear growth
Organic apples and pears had the strongest monthly growth Superfresh Growers has recently seen. Both categories were up nearly 30 percent in the month of August. Organic apples were up 30 percent in dollars, while organic pears were up 29 percent 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 percent.
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 percent in volume and flat in dollars, due to a 2 percent lower retail price average of $1.71. Honeycrisp sales led the way, up 17 percent, with Fuji apples following close behind at 11 percent, according to Nielsen data of the last four weeks ending Sept. 5.
Pear demand rebounded in August to 2 percent growth in dollars, due to a 7 percent rise in average price per pound. Bartlett pears led the way with 8 percent growth in dollars, despite being down 4 percent in volume, reflecting a shorter California Bartlett pear crop. The average Bartlett price per pound was up a whopping 13 percent over last year. We are already seeing an orderly and firm market transition from California to Pacific Northwest pears.
Asian pears continue to do exceptionally well, up 31 percent in dollars, and 18 percent in volume. Superfresh Asian pear harvest is under way, and the company is seeing a very nice crop.
Organic apples continue to sell like crazy, up 30 percent in dollars and 23 percent in volume during August. Strong organic growth has become a trend during COVID-19, with June up 12 percent in dollars and 19 percent in volume, and July up 28 percent in dollars and 27 percent in volume. During August, organic dollar share represented an outstanding 15 percent of the category. Organic pears, rebounded, as expected, with the advent of the Northwest pear crop, up 5 percent in dollars and 29 percent in units, due to a 19 percent 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 percent. Twenty-four 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.
To support the current packaging preferences, the company is 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. Superfresh Growers is 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.