Varieties continue to grow in sales

09/18/2012 04:28:00 PM
David Mitchell

Red delicious has name recognition and Honeycrisp has become a consumer and industry favorite in recent years. But the No. 1 apple in the U.S. by both volume and dollars is gala, according to the Nielsen Perishables Group, which tracks retail sales.

“Red delicious continue to flourish in export markets, but gala is the new winner in the domestic market,” said Brianna Shales, communications director for Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers LLC. “Gala pricing is higher than reds and needs to be, yet sales continue to grow.”

For the 52-week period ending June 30, the top five apples by U.S. retail volume were gala, red delicious, fuji, granny smith and Honeycrisp, according to the Perishables Group.

Nielsen Perishables Group executive vice president Steve Lutz said while gala, fuji and Honeycrisp all showed increases in volume compared to a year ago, granny smith was relatively flat and red delicious volume dropped 6%.

Some of those changes could be due to changes in year-to-year availability and tonnage, but consumer taste is also a factor.

Honeycrisp sales, by volume, increased 37% in the past year, Lutz said.

Honeycrisp’s success comes despite its higher cost, often $1 per pound more than other varieties.

“Although the industry continues to produce more, we have not yet reached a supply/demand equilibrium, and pricing has remained high compared to other varieties both on the f.o.b. and retail fronts," said Suzanne Wolter, marketing director for Rainier Fruit Co., Yakima, Wash.



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