( Stemilt Growers )

Stemilt Growers has published version 2.0 of its “Fast Facts” apple category review programs, and the new production brings starring roles to the company’s marketing team of Roger Pepperl and Brianna Shales.

Pepperl, marketing director, and Shales, senior marketing manager, form the cast of the video production, set at the firm’s Wenatchee offices.

The first episode of “Fast Facts: The Cast” looks at U.S. apple category performance from October 2019, according to a news release.

“We’re rolling out this podcast-style analysis of category data to give retailers an easy way to digest facts that stood out to us in the latest set of Nielsen retail scan data,” Shales said in the release. “Whether they watch or listen, it’s a fast and fun way to understand how the total category is doing. It also offers advice for making small yet bold changes to elevate the category going-forward.”

Apples were 6.9% of U.S. fresh produce sales in October, down 0.2% year-over-year, according to Fast Facts. The Midwest region beat the average considerably with 8.6% of fresh produce sales coming from apples.

“October is still in that transition time for apples, but it’s also a big selling month for apples, and the harsh reality is that we need to see bigger volumes of apples sold,” Shales said in the release. “Going big with promotions will help account for deflation in the apple category and help move the large crop that we have nationally this season.”

In October, gala variety apples experienced a 3.6% increase in sales compared with a year ago, while sales of Honeycrisp were flat, according to Fast Facts. Fuji, red delicious and granny smith saw sales declines compared with last October.

Shales said all top five varieties can benefit from increased multi-variety promotions that are centered around moving volume.

“Bigger displays, creative merchandising tactics, and in-and-outs on larger pouch bag packs are all strategies Stemilt has in place for retailers to tap into to push more volume through the register,” Shales said in the release.

On merchandising of club variety apples, Pepperl said retailers should “pick their favorites”  and focus on messaging their unique attributes to consumers to increase trial and future purchases. 

Organic apple volumes were up nearly 7% in October 2019 compared to 2018 and account for about 10% of apple category sales, according to Fast Facts.

“The gas pedal isn’t there when it comes to organic apples, and presents a real creative promotion opportunity for retailers,” Shales said in the release. “The retailers that do organics best will often have 20% to 30% of their apple sales coming from organics. With the largest organic apple crop in history, this is the year to reward loyal organic shoppers and entice new ones via promotions.”
Shales said increasing consumer bag sizes can build organic sales. 

“It’s time to sell more to these produce fanatics. We want to see the same multi-variety ad effort that is made for conventional apples made for bulk organic,” Shales said in the release. “And beyond that, Stemilt has a value opportunity on 5-pound pouch bags of Artisan Organics apples that retailers can take advantage of to give that organic category a volume boost.”


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