Even so, smaller fruit sizes will spur renewed opportunity for bagged promotions, said Bob Mast, vice president of marketing for Columbia Marketing International Corp., Wenatchee.
“The 5-pound bag has faded away but we will be coming out and doing some 5-pound bag promotions this season,” he said.
A cold, wet spring may result in some flecking on fujis and russeting on golden delicious, which is expected to reduce packout this year.
“We will add some labor for sorting this year,” Mast said. “It may take a little work to get premium fruit into the box.”
Pomianek said the industry’s annual all-variety forecast has averaged within 5.5% of actual production over the past three years, with estimates as close as 2% and off as much as 10% from the final packout.
In 2009, the industry had originally expected the crop to total 107 million cartons, but freezing weather in October reduced fresh apple supplies.
By variety, the industry forecast predicts 35.4 million cartons of red delicious, compared to 34 million in the big crop year of 2008.
Through Aug. 8 this year, Washington apple shippers had moved about 30.2 million cartons of red delicious apples, with several more weeks of shipments before the 2009 crop was finished.
Meanwhile, gala output this year is anticipated at 20.6 million cartons, compared with 23 million cartons in 2008, and 19.3 million cartons shipped through Aug. 8 this year.
Some varieties showed projected declines compared to the 2008 crop year.
The 2010 estimate for golden delicious is 11.2 million cartons, down from the 2008 level of 12.7 million cartons. Granny smith output is projected at 14.3 million cartons, down slightly from the 2008 output of 14.6 million cartons. The fuji projection is 14.6 million cartons, down slightly from 14.9 million cartons in the 2008-09 marketing year.