Pink Lady America brings a wealth of expertise to apples
With so many apple varieties out there, it’s hard for one particular type of apple to stand out, but that is exactly what the Pink Lady has done.
Pink Lady apples are some of the first apples to blossom each year and the last ones to be harvested, but they are worth the wait. They soak up 200 days of sunshine, they have a delicious flavor and a beautiful rosy blush, and as the Pink Lady marks its 25th anniversary in the United States it has become the country’s sixth-most-popular apple.
“It’s really exciting,” said Kathryn Grandy, chief marketing officer for Proprietary Variety Management and Pink Lady America, based in Yakima, WA. “We have all kinds of partnerships and celebrations going on. We’re doing a lot on social media with Pink Lady contests, and Pink Lady apples just received the Good Housekeeping nutritional award.”
In 2022, Pink Lady America presented summer promotions, including the Summer Snapshot Sweepstakes, which gave five winners a prize pack that included two pink Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Cameras, a grocery card to buy Pink Lady Apples and other Pink Lady merchandise.
“It’s a brand that just continues to be a household name, and it’s many people’s favorite,” Grandy said. “We’re doing a lot with the Pink Lady because of consumer demand. It’s amazing to have a product that has such a long life.”
Another apple Proprietary Variety Management is excited about is the Sunrise Magic from Washington State University.
“It’s been out for a few years,” Grandy said of the Sunrise Magic. “Volumes are still going to be relatively small, but plantings are increasing across Washington and we’re going to have a little bit more this year. It is a fantastic apple — it has similar characteristics to the Cosmic Crisp in the sense of storability. It’s just a really juicy, crunchy apple.”
Discussing U.S. apple brands, Grandy noted there is tremendous growth in international planting, including the Cosmic Crisp in Australia, which is also planted in South Africa, Korea and South America. She also noted that the red fleshed apple branded as Lucy is being planted in Washington, as well as in Europe and other parts of the world.
“There are many brands being offered to the retailer with limited space,” she said. “I think companies are very careful about what they plant, wanting the apple to be a special, differentiated and truly delicious.”
PVM is also commercializing fruits in the apricot, plum and other tree fruit categories.
“Consumers want flavorful, good food,” Grandy said. “That’s what we strive for.”
PVM has had a lot of success with individual box sampling, which encourages consumers to try new apple varieties. The box describes the apples and their characteristics, which is important as today’s consumers want to know where their fruit is grown, how it’s grown, and its variety of uses.
Another of the firm’s initiatives is the development of a database of its global test information, so that it can manage its intellectual property. Another innovative project, Idyia, is an orchard management tracking system that records sales of trees and products, returns data, tracks box sales, and projections as required by Washington State University.
Grandy noted that PVM is growing and represents a large number of brands.