Summer has just begun and there is still more planning and preparation needed to ready the new crop of Washington apples for the fall harvest, Domex Superfresh Growers officials say. Trees around the State are covered with an abundance of apples. The official estimate will not be announced until August 11 and growers and industry experts, relying on Mother Nature’s cooperation, are seeing the potential for a bountiful crop, they add.
Domex Superfresh Growers, one of the largest growers of apples in WA State, recommends that retailers focus on four critical areas when planning for this crop;
- The crop is early, about five days earlier than last year. Domex will have promotable quantities of new crop Galas by mid-August.
- Sizing will be similar to last year’s crop, which will provide opportunities for terrific promotional activity on big fruit, officials say.
- Due to the warm spring supporting healthy cell division, Domex is looking at a vintage crop reflecting high marks for shape, size and eating quality.
- Regional growing areas in the Eastern U.S. are running later than normal due to the very cool spring.
August and September are shaping up to be an ideal time to promote WA apples, officials say. Last year’s crop reflected a significant dollar contribution at retail. Nielsen data revealed dollar sales for the 52-week period ending August 24, 2013 with a 16.6% increase over the previous year. The top five varieties of Gala, Red Delicious, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Granny Smith represented 76% of dollar sales with the average retail price up 11.3%.
Apples also play an important role in the fruit category, contributing big dollar sales. In 2013/Q3, apples represented 10.5% of fruit dollars in the produce department and jumped to 19.6% in Q4. The apple category is critical to the success of the produce department as it drives dollars as well as consumer satisfaction, Domex officials conclude.