Stemilt Fast Facts: The Cast sees exciting opportunities in apple volumes for retailers

From The Packer | 21 December 2021

Overview of apples volumes and prices in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on December 16, 2021. 

Fast Facts: The Cast met one last time for the year of 2022 to wrap up the fall season and analyze the last 12 weeks of data from Nielson retail scan data. Stemilt marketing director Brianna Shales and newly named allocations specialist, Katie Harmon, sat down to discuss a shorter national apple crop and exciting opportunities for retailers to move apple volumes this holiday season in this 3-minute video.

“Apple dollars are up 7% year-over-year or an average increase of $0.19/lb., while apple volumes were down 4.3%,” explained Shales. “A shorter national apple crop and food inflation are primary reasons for those increases. With these factors in place this season, it’s important that retailers take advantage of apples where there are opportunities to move volume.”

Volumes (in Lb) of apples in the US Market
chart 2021 12 20T092211.729

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Retailers should look to five primary apple varieties for opportunities: Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady®, and Cosmic Crisp®. While Gala is the top U.S. apple by volume, it is in tighter supply this year making up for 24.7% of apple volumes during this time period, but tracking 10% down in volume year over year. Within the top 5, the focus for multi-variety ads should shift to Granny Smith and Fuji. Beyond that, the Stemilt Fast Facts: The Cast video highlighted potential with good volume and great qualities of Pink Lady®. Cosmic Crisp® has grown in volume share and will make an impact on the top ten apples this year.

“Taking a look at apples sales, 60% of apples were sold bulk while the remaining 40% were in packages,” stated Shales. “Bag retails have increased 11.9% year over year and bulk retails have increased 4.6%. Apples made up 6% of total produce department sales from September 4, 2021 to November 27, 2021 and the average price per pound for apples was $1.82, compared to $1.63 the year prior.”

Prices (in USD/Lb) of apples in the US Market, by varieties
chart 2021 12 20T103713.759

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

A smaller apple crop in the Midwest resulted in a 9% decrease in apple volume sales there, whereas the south saw the greatest rise in apple dollar sales at 9%. This is due in part to their double-digit sales growth in organics. With that, organics were 16% of apple sales in November, with organic Honeycrisp making up the top 2 organic apple items for a combined one-third of organic apple sales. Organic promotions are going to be a great driver for the category in the winter and spring months, Shales noted.

“Organics offer great promotion opportunities for the winter months,” explained Shales. “Competition has also heated up in the club apple category. Ambrosia, SweeTango®, and Envy made up 62% of club sales and volumes during this latest 12 weeks. SweeTango® was the #1 club apple in the Northeast and Midwest regions and was #2 for club apples in the West region.”The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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