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CMI's import program bridges gaps on domestic product

CMI Orchards is gearing up for another successful import season with fruit arriving from New Zealand, Argentina and Chile next month. CMI’s import program includes apples, pears and cherries with conventional and organic options in addition to specialty branded apples.AD7Q5742-2

Robb Myers, director of sales at CMI Orchards, manages CMI’s New Zealand program where the company is sourcing KIKU, Kanzi, Jazz and Envy apples.

“We set up import programs to bridge any gaps on domestic product,” Myers said. “We know how important it is for retailers to have year-round supply, and we’ve partnered with some of the best growers in the world to deliver the same premium quality fruit you can expect from our own domestic crops. The added bonus is an injection of beautiful new crop fruit in the summer months, providing strong opportunities for retail promotions during a time when apple sales can slow.”

CMI’s Chilean import manager, Scott Granger, said retailers can work with CMI to forecast supply and cover any projected gaps using Chilean fruit.

“Conversations about importing apples and pears starts in December and finalizes in January, and this close to June, most of our conventional and organic product from Chile is already pre-committed for the current import season,” Granger said.

Myers added, “The big opportunity for retailers right now is with KIKU and Kanzi apples from New Zealand. We still have availability for any retailers that want to jump on board — particularly in the late summer. It’s highly competitive, so we’ll need to get commitments right away to secure volume for summer promotions.” Myers said that with the supplementation of imported KIKU and Kanzi, retailers can run year-round programs for these top-selling branded apples. “This is really good news for retailers that care about consistent supply for long-term promotions,” he said.

Granger talked about another upcoming import opportunity that retailers should have on their radars: Chilean cherries. “Some retailers don’t realize that we’re also able to bring in premium red cherries from Chile in the winter months,” Granger said. “We’re about to hit an incredible Northwest cherry season and understandably imported cherries are far from anyone’s mind, but winter will be here before we know it. Imported cherries offer a really nice cash injection and specialty offering for customers in December and January. We can start booking orders for imported cherries in the next few months.”

Myers overviewed the import fruit opportunities with CMI. “As far as our full suite of global import opportunities, CMI can bring in branded KIKU, Kanzi, Jazz, Envy and Ambrosia apples, organic and conventional core apples, plus pears and cherries,” he said. “Volume depends on what gaps we need to bridge. It’s just nice to have the option to offer year-round supply and to be able to supplement with imports so that we can keep our retail partners’ shelves stocked.”

“Having great partnerships in place with select Southern Hemisphere growers offers us a world of opportunity to provide assurances and security of supply to our retail customers,” Myers said. “We’ve been doing this for over a decade and feel confident that the imported fruit we bring in to North America is exceptional and will not disappoint.”