Stemilt just released its latest Fruit Tracker Fast Facts video analysis of U.S. apple category performance in December 2016. The latest set of Nielsen retail scan data highlighted the Central region’s performance in apples, with 7.3% of produce department sales coming from apples in that region. On average in the U.S., apples made up 6.7% of total produce department sales in December, up 0.3% from the same timeframe in 2015.
The top five apple varieties remained unchanged from November 2016: Gala, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Red Delicious. The top two – Gala and Honeycrisp – saw notable volume increases with Gala up 3.4% over the same time in 2015, and Honeycrisp movement up 2.5%.
“Volume increases on Honeycrisp and Gala tell us that promotions were in place on these key varieties in December. With larger fruit size this year, bulk promotions must run frequently on top varieties. Missing even one multi-variety ad can result in a dip in apple category performance, and with a produce department contribution of nearly 7%, that’s not something retailers can afford to have happen,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager.
The average retail price for apples in the U.S. in December was $1.62 per pound. Bulk apples accounted for 62.9% of volume with an average retail of $1.74 per pound, while bags made up the remaining 37.1% and had an average retail of $1.41 per pound.
A deeper dive into bagged apples revealed that 3-pound and 5-pound bags are the top movers in the category. Three-pound bags made up 68.2% of volume following by five-pound bags at 14.6%, six-pound bags at 7.4%, and two-pound bags at 4.4%. Stemilt is a leader in the top two bag sizes thanks to its industry-leading Lil Snappers® 3lb. pouch bags of kid-sized apples, and new 5lb Apple Lover packs. Both pouch bags are available in multiple varieties, and ideal for in-and-out promotions in the springtime.
“Spring is an important selling season for apples, and as it nears, retailers need to make sure plans are in place to keep every aspect of the category healthy. Promote bulk, bags, and organic while available to keep apple sales moving upwards,” said Shales.