Sampling, focus on locally grown spur apple sales

08/26/2011 03:01:00 PM
Dan Gailbraith

“We take great pride in our merchandising, quality and presentation of the apple category, with a focus on our customers,” Jeff Beaulieu, Giant Carlisle’s vice president of sales and merchandising, said in late July in a news release.

“We have a very strong partnership with the best apple growers that supply the highest quality and outstanding variety of apples to our consumers.”

It takes a lot of work at all points of the supply chain to keep apples moving off of retail shelves, said David Benner, general manager of Fairfield, Pa.-based El Vista Orchards.

“Retailers can best market our apples, probably, by keeping consistent quality on the shelf, and that’s going to start with the grower-packer,” he said.

“You’ve got to grow it right and pack it right. You have to order timely and often. You don’t have to order every day, but twice a week.”

Tote bags are popular items in retail displays, several shippers said.

“I think it gives a more local appearance,” said John Lott, president of Bear Mountain Orchards Inc. in Aspers, Pa.

“You got to be careful with it because the fruit can fall out, but it’s more appealing. The totes really move.”

Regular space on ads is important, said Tommy Fitzgerald, president of Fitzgerald’s Orchards in Tyro, Va.

“The chains I deal with are pretty good about going on ad,” he said.

“What that does for us is the Western apples had taken the market, but this local-grown thing — the Western apples still are the biggest apple in the chain stores — but now there is more demand for locally grown product. We’re glad to see it.”


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