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Winter apple volume is up at Superfresh Growers

By
Kyle Eberth

“We enjoyed ideal temperatures during harvest in September and October, and are seeing really nice color, flavor and quality,” said Catherine Gipe-Stewart, communications manager at Superfresh Growers.  The central Washington grower, based out of Yakima, is excited about its winter apples and expects to last all the way through storage season.

“For our proprietaries we are currently featuring Autumn Glory, Cosmic Crisp, and Pink Lady,” said Gipe-Stewart.  She pointed to recent Nielsen data, from the last four weeks (ending Dec. 4), portraying a quantitative-narrative that Superfresh is excited to share. The report shows Autumn Glory volume is up 63 percent, with sales up 46 percent year over year. “Autumn Glory demand is on fire, and we expect this to continue.” Superfresh will have plenty of promotable volume into spring, and its organic volume is up 30 percent, which should last into late winter/early spring.

“Cosmic Crisp sales continue to grow as Cosmic Crisp takes the apple category by storm,” said Gipe-Stewart. Nielsen data revealed that Cosmic sales were up 262 percent, and volume was up 258 percent year over year.  “Our conventional volume will go year-round” she said, an accomplishment Superfresh is proud to promote, given the variety is only its third year. Organic volume will go well into January 2022, or until supply lasts.

Gipe-Stewart said, “To be competitive this season and engage new buyers, Cosmic Crisp f.o.b. is being priced at or below Honeycrisp prices.” Nielsen data shows that conventional bulk Cosmic Crisp is averaging $2.27 per pound, and Honeycrisp is averaging $2.37 per pound. Superfresh Growers is one of the largest growers of Cosmic Crisp and ready to support retailers with year-round supply.

Lastly, regarding Pink Lady, Gipe-Stewart said, “Our Pink Lady is currently the only club apple that also overlaps into the core.” This tangy apple remains No. 6 and delivers, as Superfresh describes, “bright tart flavors with a hint of butteriness and a subtle acidic finish.” Gipe-Stewart added, “This is a very large growing variety for us. We are up 40 percent conventional and up 50 percent for our organic volume. We are ready to go year-round and have ad volume."

Superfresh Growers has year-round volume for both conventional and organic. While the apple crop across the state is generally down, Superfresh Growers volumes are up roughly 5 percent from last year. Gipe-Stewart said, “We are up based on planning, investment into technology and our geographical breadth.”

As for sustainability, Gipe-Stewart said Superfresh has been trialing a number of packages and doing in-depth research to determine what is the best package moving forward for our carbon footprint, regarding composability and recyclability, and water usage. She said, “The poly bag continues to be one of the best options as the overall footprint is the lowest: it’s recyclable, uses the least water and energy to make, and is made in the U.S.”

“Our paper Autumn Glory tote bags have been very popular with shoppers looking for a plastic free option,” she said. The totes allow for bulk promotional sales and extra branding. “We have tote and bin programs for Cosmic Crisp that are great for high volume stores. They’re eye-catching and easy to grab, these are new and have been popular with consumers and retailers. There are a number of other compostable and recyclable packages Superfresh continue to test and trial as well.”

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