Bulk bins remain the most popular form of apple displays, but tote bags and pouches are gaining ground as a current trend, suppliers say.

“There have been estimates and data that show somewhere between 18% to 25% of apples go out in the bag category, whether poly, tote or pouch,” said Bob Mast, vice president of marketing for Columbia Marketing International Corp., Wenatchee, Wash.

Mast said some tests showed that when retailers ran apples on ad for a low price and displayed tote bags as part of the display, the tote bags could generate up to a 20% increase in volume.

“There’s definitely some momentum behind the tote bags. Retailers are beginning to understand that they can drive additional volume,” he said.

Still, the bags aren’t going to replace bulk sales anytime soon, nor are they intended to.

“We recommend putting the tote bags in front of the bulk display as a quick grab and go for customers who don’t want to take the time to grab a bag and pick out the product themselves,” Mast said.

Others agree that tote bags are becoming more popular.

“We do many of the tote bags and that seems to be a growing trend for us,” said Fred Hess, president of Hess Bros. Fruit Co., Leona, Pa.

Hess said Hess Bros. totes tend to be 5-pound bags with two handles that are easy for consumers to pick up.

“It seems to be a very positive package for the retailers,” he said. “It has continued to grow over the past 10 to 15 years.”

The size of bags typically depends on the year’s crop.

“As far as pack size this year, we’re probably seeing less of the bigger packs, but I would expect those to go up if we have a normal year,” said Ken Korson, sales and marketing for North Bay Produce Inc., Traverse City, Mich.

“The goal is that as the price goes down, the pack size goes up,” he said.