Skip to main content

- Advertisement -

Highlighting winter apples key to Michigan’s season

By
Keith Loria

When the holiday season wraps up, most retail sets move into the health and wellness theme for the new year. Apples from Michigan certainly fill that description, with shoppers focused on adding more fruit and vegetables into their diet. 

At BelleHarvest, the apple category does experience a shift in Q1, and this year will be no different according to Angie Sommers, director of marketing for the Belding, MI-based company.

“This is a perfect time to feature new flavors and recipes,” she said. “Look for opportunities to promote the premium variety segment, as supplies of some regional apples decline. Re-allocate this shelf space to build consumer trial and awareness.”

Additionally, she noted having adequate signage and digital representation is key to promoting the category well.

“Today’s savvy shopper utilizes social media to do everything from following trends to buying groceries,” Sommers said. “While we all interact with social media a little differently, the digital marketing wave we are experiencing is here to stay and the apple industry can benefit greatly from its useful tools. It provides the perfect platform to tell the story of your brand with authenticity and transparency.”

She added that digital marketing tools allow retailers to reach shoppers through omnichannel networks and they can find ways to connect with the digital shopper by highlighting the ways the brand provides convenience, value, sustainability and innovation.

Today’s consumer needs education on the different apple varieties available to them.

“For so long, shoppers only distinction between varieties was focused on color: green, red, and yellow,” Sommers said. “We can use this opportunity to focus on flavor. The premium and emerging varieties provide a chance to get in front of the consumer with information to help guide trial and awareness. In a perfect world, they will like all the new varieties hitting the store shelf, but only 2-3 will typically stick. Consumers will find attributes in several varieties that they like best. It’s a home run if you can get them to remember the variety name and eating experience.”

With all of that combined you have a likelihood for re-purchase, so it’s important that retailer’s stock new varieties for more than a month at a time. Shoppers need a chance to trial and come back for more.

Another Michigan winter apple expert is Ken Korson, sales and apple category manager for North Bay Produce, the Traverse City, MI-based cooperative, which has an outstanding group of multi-generational apple growers in the company that produce top quality fruit.

Korson himself has been working in the category for more than a dozen years with North Bay and has an additional two decades of retail experience overall. He’s also a hobbyist farmer on family land in Traverse City, so he can relate to the apple growers because he is dealing with many of the same situations that they are throughout the season.

“I think one of the biggest keys to being successful with running any commodity is relationships with the growers and other people in the industry,” he said. “These relationships help me to understand all facets of the apple category. Since North Bay is a co-operative of growers, it is essential that we work closely together with each forming personal relationships that helps us work efficiently to move their product offering a good return to them while managing our customers to give them the best quality fruit at the best price possible.”

Tagged in:

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -