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Retailers should hit Piñata to boost holiday apple sales

Stemilt has a solution for those wishing they were soaking up sun on a beach. Stemilt’s proprietary variety, Piñata, is an apple that will bring sunshine and sales to produce department shelves as the holiday season begins. 

“This year’s Piñata harvest was a great, successful one,” said Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director. “It's a ‘classic crop’ with high colors, excellent condition, and dessert flavors with a nice balance of acids and sugars. Consumers will not be disappointed when they get their hands on these apples.”Stemilt-Organic-LilSnappers-Pinata-3lb

The 2017 Piñata crop was harvested at peak timing which allows Stemilt to maximize the apple’s beautiful color and high acids and sugars. The Piñata is a full red to stripy red with a yellow-orange background making it an apple that really pops on the shelves. Although the apple variety is not as new as other recently revealed varieties, Pepperl accredits the high quality crop to well-established trees.

“We have some of the best, most experienced farmers in the industry and they have worked hard to ensure that the trees are well-established and cared for,” said Pepperl. “Their dedication to those trees is extremely apparent in this year’s crop. They are producing large, high-quality Piñata apples that have everything a consumer wants: a crisp bite with an explosion of flavor.”

Piñata apples are peaking at size 80s conventionally and size 100 organically. Pepperl said retailers should capitalize on the smaller sizes as small-sized fruit bodes well with parent consumers who are looking to provide healthy, flavorful snacks for their children.

“Lil Snapper kid-size fruit is an ideal item to carry, especially in a year with smaller fruit sizing,” said Pepperl. “The Piñata apple is a favorite among children consumers as it has the perfect balance of acid and sugar. Plus, the three-pound pouch bags have proven very successful among parent consumers as they offer the right amount of fruit for a school week.”

Stemilt offers Lil Snappers Piñata in nine/three-pound pouch bags, conventional and organic. Stemilt also offers Piñata in value bags that fall under the umbrella of the Apple Lovers program. Those value bags will be offered in an eight/five-pound Piñata display-ready carton.

Pepperl also suggested retailers use the fun, tropical branding as a way to catch the eye of the consumer. Both Piñata DRCs and standard cartons have palm trees, an apple island and a cruise ship to play off the “tropical twist.” Pepperl said that chains have been successful when constructing high visual, stimulating Pinata apple displays with cartons in produce departments.

“Piñata promotions now through Cinco de Mayo are essential in pushing high volumes and earning dollars,” states Pepperl. “We have seen chains do exceptionally well in January as they use the branding to create a ‘tropical destination’ for shoppers and encourage purchases during the cold winter months. We have also seen displays that combine Piñata apples with pineapples to create an illusion of an island destination and encourage consumers to jump on board with the tropical twist!”

Piñata is the brand name for the Pinova apple cultivar, which was naturally crossed between three heirloom varieties — Golden Delicious, Cox’s Orange Pippin and Duchess of Oldenburg — back in the 1970s in Dresden-Pillnitz, Germany. Stemilt’s founding family, the Mathisons, obtained the exclusive rights to grow and market the variety in 2004 and it hit the U.S. market in 2009. Now that it has been established, Piñata has become a consumer favorite because of its versatility.

The Piñata variety is an ideal snacking and pairing apple due to its explosive flavor and ability to naturally resist oxidation, or browning. It also does well as a culinary apple due to its Golden Delicious heritage, an apple that is popular to bake with. The Piñata variety holds up well against heated culinary applications, making it a great fit for pies, tarts, and whatever else one dreams up with apples, states Pepperl.

“The Piñata variety couldn’t come at a better time as the holidays are right around the corner,” said Pepperl. “It is the ideal apple in so many different ways; from its flavor to its branding to its culinary abilities, there really isn’t anything this apple can’t do.”