The popularity of smaller fruit continues in a big way.
On the heels of its Lil Snappers brand of kid-sized apples and pears introduced last year, Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers Inc. plans to extend the line this summer.
The company aims to add green bartlett pears to the mix after seeing how well the anjou pears have been received, said Roger Pepperl, marketing director.
He said the bartletts will start to be released the third week in August.
“I think they’ll go over really well,” Pepperl said.
“Kids like bartletts. They ripen fast and they’re a sweet pear.”
Stemilt offers small gala, granny smith, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp and Piñata apples, as well as anjou pears. Pink Lady, fuji, Piñata and granny smith will also be offered as organic options.
Pepperl said Stemilt was looking into offering a three-color pear bag containing bosc, anjou and red anjou. The bag of bartletts will contain about nine to 11 small pears.
Like the other slider pouch bags of Lil Snappers, the bartlett version will feature a quick-response code, but the content will be expanded to include 10 additional recipes, such as kid-friendly apple kabobs, peanut butter apple smiles and a tuna salad recipe using apples as “cups with lids” fixed with a carrot stick stem, Pepperl said.
“They’ll be fun kid recipes that are silly and suggest fun things to do with fruit,” he said.
He said the company continues to receive feedback that moms are picking up the bags of small apples and pears for the first time and are loving them, letting Stemilt know that marketing to moms, as well as kids, is the right direction.
“We really think there’s an opportunity here,” Pepperl said. “This is a great way to experiment with foods that (kids) might not be used to eating.”
An important part of the concept is to market to kids at home once the bag of fruit has been purchased, as well as at the retail level, Pepperl said.
“It’s not just the P.O.S. (point of sale) in the grocery store, but the P.O.E. — the point of eating.”
The slider bags easily fit on the shelf or in the door of a refrigerator, so families “see something fresh and fun instead of something that doesn’t look appealing,” he said.
In addition, Stemilt plans to expand the Lil Snappers section of its Web page this fall.
The company is also working on a display-ready pallet for the Lil Snappers products.