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Knowledge is power for Oppy's apples

By
Keith Loria

With an apple program spanning the globe, Oppy offers fan-favorites like Gala and Fuji with exciting club varieties like JAZZ and Envy.

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Roger Aguirre

Apples are at the root of Oppy’s history, partnering with BC Tree Fruits in 1930 to sell apples and stone fruit, introducing Granny Smith apples to North America in 1956, followed by New Zealand favorites in the following years through its partnership with T&G. Today, more than 3 million boxes of apples run through Oppy’s program annually with plans to rapidly expand in the coming years.

“Knowledge is power. The most effective way to market apples is within the data,” said Roger Aguirre, director of apples and pears for the company. “We provide custom analytics to our retail-partners based on their own demographics so we can help in identifying the right marketing mix to help them capitalize on the product, place, promotion, price and people.”

The company also works to ensure it’s fitting the taste profile that consumers are looking for, and delivering on its high standards for every piece of fruit.

During the pandemic, Oppy's team was driven by the company’s “Expect the World” from us promise to continue providing healthy, reliable solutions for its partners in a time of need.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is still an unfortunate reality, which means food as a means of preventive wellness, home cooking and exploration and channel diversity, are as important as ever,” Aguirre said. “By partnering with dieticians, chefs and eCommerce programs, Oppy aims to deliver solutions to increase consumption and sales velocity.”

The company expects a really strong program with its Washington crop for the 2021 season, looking at a 25 to 30 percent lift in volume, led by Envy apples. With Washington state forecasting a 2.3 percent increase, Oppy is on the leading edge of growth in this segment.

“We are excited for a lot of growth with Envy apples, considering the number of new blocks coming on,” Aguirre said. “An overall trend for this season is smaller sizing, but we expect to have an excellent size range available. Some cooler conditions are expected in the forecast, which will help with developing deep color. We’re encouraged by the prospects of these cooler nights compared to the heat and smoke we’ve seen through the summer — it will really help in developing excellent fruit this season.”

JAZZ is expected to start early October, while Envy will begin harvest in mid- to late October, which is typical for both varieties. Meanwhile, Envy apple is leading the way of Oppy’s organic apple program, accounting for more than 30 percent growth in organic volume. JAZZ apple is steadily increasing as well.

With more ways to connect like eCommerce positioning, geotargeting advertising, social outreach and beyond, Oppy is making strong investments in retail programs, digital media support, diverse content and digital rewards, to deliver in this segment.

“There appears to be an increasingly strong emphasis on thoughtful decision making in category management and SKU rationalizing,” Aguirre said, explaining the company works to deliver robust information for retail partners that will grow comps, revenue and shares. “Oppy is poised to deliver category-focused, compelling and consolidated information to help propel the premium segment, particularly for Envy and JAZZ.”

Looking forward, Aguirre sees a big opportunity in clarity and ease, by making it easier for retail partners and for shoppers to quickly see relevant reasons why Oppy’s apples are the best eating fruit for their basket.

“In order to generate repeat purchases and increase frequency in pounds and transactions, we need relevant visibility, whether at the shelf, crossed with a meaningful item, on the first row of the apple eCommerce landing page, on a social news feed or within a family-favorite movie, and beyond,” he said. “Especially with the lack of sampling opportunities in today’s environment, delivering the highest-quality eating experience every time will capture confidence and loyalty among all.”

Since starting in the apple business, the key to Oppy’s successful relationships is that it is so deeply integrated with its partners that the line between them is blurred.

“Our sales team is their sales team, our marketing campaigns are their marketing campaigns, our quality assurance is their quality assurance, and vice versa,” Aguirre said. “Through our deep and transparent connection, we’re able to deliver upon every need of our customers.”

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