Nager said the size of the apples this year was affected by the weather.
“The Washington industry is expecting more large-size apples, 88’s or 80’s and larger, than in the past,” he said.
Kropf said the gala crop was a little small in size this year, though everything else sized up nicely.
“Most other varieties were in the mid-to-large range,” he said.
Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for Rainier Fruit Co., Selah, Wash., said that last season, the apple category had the highest inflationary costs and volume growth in the entire produce department.
“Normally, consumers will substitute a different item for one that is experiencing price inflation, and yet last year consumers stayed in the apple category,” she said. “Volume sales during the 2012 season were not hurt by inflation or the shift in growing region supply.”
She said consumers simply shifted their purchasing patterns when the retail assortment changed.
“With the higher-value fruit on the shelf and less aggressive promotional pricing, consumers did not have the opportunity to trade down,” Wolter said.
Stable prices are also evidence of a good balance in the category.
“Prices are stable. It’s proof that our product mix is coming in line with what consumers are demanding,” Wolter said.