CMI to expand organic apple programColumbia Marketing International will expand its organic apple program in response to strong consumer demand.

Wenatchee, Wash.-based CMI plans to increase production of its Daisy Girl Organics-branded apples this fall, Mark Hambelton, the company’s organic sales manager, said in a news release.

From Sept. 1 to Feb. 22, U.S. organic apple sales grew 20% over the same period the year before, and volumes were up by 22%, according to Nielsen Perishables Group data cited by CMI.

“With the success retail supermarkets are having this year with branded organic apples, we think this will really set the stage for strong growth next season,” Hambelton said in the release. “ We’re already getting inquiries from retailers asking about Daisy Girl Organics for next season. There is more space allotted at retail, more products on the shelf consistently and supermarkets are really developing a strong base of consistent organic shoppers.”

Category diversity has benefited the organic apple category, Hambelton said. Not long ago, one or two organic options were common at retail. Now, Hambelton said, many stores have six or more variety and package options regularly.

CMI has enjoyed success with its Daisy Girl 2-pound gala pouch bag, which it introduced in the fall.