( Stemilt Growers )

The apple category performed well in January, according to the latest Fruit Tracker Fast Fact video from Stemilt Growers.

Apple sales accounted for 8.4% of fresh produce sales in January, up 1.8% from January last year, according to the report.

“Apple movement continued its brisk pace in the New Year despite some frigid temperatures late in the month,” Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager, said in the release. “Fruit quality and key varieties in the right size profiles continue to fuel bulk promotions and category performance. With a smaller U.S. apple crop this year when compared to last, we expect to see average retails to continue to creep up in the spring and summer months.”
Other findings in the report were:

  • The Midwest beat the U.S. average with apples accounting for 9.7%of fresh produce sales;
  • Apples sold for $1.62 per pound on average in January, up one penny per pound compared with January a year ago.
  • Four out of 10 apples sold were gala or Honeycrisp in January, with fuji, red delicious, and granny smith filling out the top five varieties, according to the report;
  • Gala dollar sales were up 17.3% compared with January a year ago; and
  • Honeycrisp variety apples had an average retail price of $2.43 per pound, the highest of any top ten variety;

“Honeycrisp performance shows it’s still the consumer favorite and sells at premium prices, but the performance of gala and month-over-month increases in fuji volumes are great signs of a healthy apple category and strong promotion execution at retail,” Shales said in the release.

Looking toward the spring, Shales said retailers can look to certain varieties and size profiles for promotion opportunities, including fuji, gala, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady.

Jumbo Red Delicious offer the best value opportunity this spring, according to the report, while club varieties like Stemilt’s Pinata also offer promotion opportunities.

“The spring months not only bring warmer temperatures, but also some of the best apple qualities of the season,” Shales said in the release. “It’s a great time to continue the forward momentum on apples with steady promotions that focus on flavors and quality.”