Getting small fruit into small hands continues to be a winning strategy for growers.
In early August, Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, Wash., plans to introduce a random-weight brown kraft tote for its small organic peaches and nectarines.
“Our cost is pretty reasonable, and it holds about 3 pounds of fruit so it doesn’t get too excessive,” said marketing director Roger Pepperl.
The side of each bag tells a story about the family that grew them, Pepperl said.
“It’s a farm-friendly way to get smaller fruit into kids.”
Stemilt plans to use the same totes for organic apples and pears later in the season.
“We often have a lot of smaller pears, and there’s a limited market for them in North America. But they’re the right size for kids and gives them a chance to try something new,” Pepperl said.
The response to last year’s mixed poly bag of small pears was unbelievable, Pepperl said, and the company plans a bigger push this year.
Each bag contains about 10 pieces of fruit, and individual stores can fill them with whatever color they want to promote.
“We’ve sold a lot of extra pear volume and done a lot of in and outs with chains,” he said. “That’s been a big win for us.”
The fact that Stemilt’s fruit is organic is a bonus, he said.
“We feel organics is a good market for kids, but it’s under-exploited.”
Washington’s pear crop is forecast to be up to 15% bigger than last year, Pepperl said, while the apple crop may be 10% smaller.