“We won’t have the official estimate for the 2023 crop until the US Apple Outlook Conference in August, but we believe the crop may be approximately 85-90 percent the size of last year’s,” he said.
Michigan’s managed varieties have grown in popularity year-over-year.
“Keeping these varieties stocked for longer periods of time and not just for a sale or a ‘limited time’ will keep the consumer coming back to purchase their new favorite apple variety. We expect managed varieties to continue to thrive,” Smith said.
There are numerous reasons why Michigan apples are in such demand. Dedicated growers, ideal climate and geography and nutrient-rich soil are a few of the ways Michigan-grown apples are set apart from others.
“With 775 family-run farms, growing apples is a way of life,” Smith said. “Our proximity to the Great Lakes allows for plenty of moisture; the topography of the apple growing regions equal hilly landscapes and nutrient rich soil; and good weather conditions in each season help to enhance both color and flavor of the fruit.”
Additionally, partnerships with Michigan State University and other institutions of excellence mean Michigan growers have access to research and innovative technology that allows them to confidently face any production challenges they may encounter.
Getting customers excited about Michigan apples is something that falls on farmers, retailers and the Michigan Apple Committee.
“For boosting sales at the retail level, we suggest strengthening customer education about apples through a proactive social media presence and a content-rich website,” Jarrard said. “By offering valuable insights on flavor profiles, apple pairing ideas and nutritional benefits, stores can achieve greater success.”
Additionally, he recommends in-store and digital marketing efforts to be focused on promoting the health benefits of apples and encouraging customers to incorporate them into their daily routines beyond just snacking occasions.
“Those efforts promote apples as versatile fruit for all-day consumption,” Jarrard said. “Targeted consumer flavor profile research by area and offering specific varieties to satisfy those is important as well. There is not a one-size fits all apple.”