Washington Apple: business updates - The Packer

Washington Apple: business updates

09/09/2013 09:55:00 AM
Tom Karst

Chelan Fresh plans cross-promotions

Chelan Fresh Marketing apple volume is expected to increase slightly, said Mac Riggan, director of marketing with Chelan, Wash.-based Chelan Fresh Marketing, with about 12 million cartons expected for 2013-14. Honeycrisp volume — grown in Brewster and Chelan regions — could approach 500,000 boxes this year, Riggan said.

Chelan Fresh will put 2.4 million Jif To Go tags on bags, Riggan, said.

“That will start in mid-August and go October, offering shoppers 55 cents off any Jif To Go peanut butter product when they buy our apples,” Riggan said.

Riggan said Chlean Fresh is also considering a cross-promotion with a caramel apple wrap company in October. That promotion would have a display bin featuring Chelan Fresh apples with a bin promoting the caramel apple wrap.

“The store could merchandise apples and apple wrap together,” he said.

Chelan Fresh also plans to run a Disney brand promotion that is expected to include a dollar off for a movie ticket.

Chelan Fresh is working on a 3-pound pouch bag for apples this year as a test for certain retailers.

Chelan Fresh has two proprietary varieties it is actively growing in its test orchard, and Riggan said those may be available commercially in about three years. The varieties will be sampled at the Produce Marketing Association expo Oct. 18-20 in New Orleans and in limited volume to retailers this year.

Superfresh Growers increases Honeycrisps

Domex Superfresh Growers expects to market about 15 million cartons of apples in 2013-14, said Howard Nager, vice president of marketing for Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash. That accounts for close to 10% of the state’s crop. About 8% of the firm’s apples are organic, Nager said.

Superfresh plans to double its volume of Honeycrisp this year, Nager said.

Autumn Glory, a Superfresh proprietary variety, is also expected to double its output from last year and find volume in the 30,000-carton range. Fresh packout could reach 200,000 cartons within the next five years, Nager said.

Autumn Glory harvest will begin in mid-October. About half of the offerings of the Autumn Glory will be organic within five years, Nager said.

Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager, said the firm is running a promotion on Instagram with a focus on consumers eating apples, pears cherries.

The company is also doing a Facebook promotion with retail produce managers in which they submit pictures of their apple displays, with a winner selected each month to receive a gift card.Superfresh has worked with MJR Creative on its recently revamped website. The consumer-oriented website offers the information on promotions and features links to grower stories and videos.

Queen said a new packing line for Domex Superfresh can pack up to 70 bins of apples per hour, depending on variety. Each bin contains up to 24 cartons of fruit, depending on variety.

Honey Bear Tree Fruit offers Smitten apple

Wenatchee, Wash.-based Honey Bear Tree Fruit expects to market about 1.6 million cartons of apples this year, said Randy Steensma, president.

The firm expects to harvest about 40% more Honeycrisp than the 2012 season, when the firm packed 200,000 boxes of the variety. Steensma said Honeycrisp could eventually top the volume of galas in Washington.

Honey Bear plans to offer the proprietary Smitten variety out of New Zealand this year.

“It’s a totally new variety, with similar appearance to gala but with flavor profiles that are outstanding,” Steensma said. “It’s phenomenal.”

Oneonta Starr Ranch develops Wal-Mart Mexico promo

Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers expects to pack about 10 million cartons of apples, said Scott Marboe, director of marketing for the Wenatchee, Wash. company.

Oneonta is developing a Spanish version of the “Eat and Play the Healthy Way” promotion for Wal-Mart Mexico, he said.

The company is offering a 3-pound gusseted pouch bag for apples this year.

Oneonta packer Columbia Reach Pack has undergone a huge overhaul, with a new packing facility and storage operational by November. The firm’s facility at Quincy has also been updated, with packing and loading updates. All four of Oneonta’s four main warehouses have seen substantial increases in controlled-atmosphere storage, Marboe said.

Rainier Fruit to produce more organic

Volume of conventional apple will be off slightly for Rainier Fruit, but output of organic output will increase, said Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for the Selah, Wash. company.

Rainier Fruit has new mesh bagging machines that will feature a full wrap-around graphics for Lady Alice and Jumani variety apples, allowing more for communication with consumers about the variety, Wolter said.

Sage Fruit sticks with NASCAR, Biggest Loser

Sage Fruit Co. expects to market up to 8 million cartons of apples, said Steve Reisenauer, sales manager for the Yakima, Wash. company.

Sage Fruit will continue to use its Biggest Loser promotion, which Reisenauer said has been a very good promotion for the company.

Sage also markets its “Kids in Force” bag, which promotes healthy eating for kids. That campaign sets up online contests that kids can enter and play games and earn credits for merchandise.

The marketing effort also include networking with retailers to promote healthy eating, he said. For example, Sage Fruit ties into the Produce Mom healthy eating blog.

Sage Fruit also continues with its sponsorship of NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne.

Stemilt Growers to expand Lil Snapppers

Stemilt Growers LLC will market more than 10 million cartons of apples, with about 11% of the volume organic, according to Brianna Shales, communications manager with Wenatchee, Wash.-based company.

Roger Pepperl, marketing director for Stemilt, said the Lil Snappers program will continue to expand, with size 125 apples and 138 pears the key sizes for the program.



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