Exceptional quality for Northwest pear harvest
With harvest in full swing throughout the four growing regions of the Pacific Northwest, the pear industry released the first official estimate of the 2021-22 fresh pear crop for Washington and Oregon: 16.1 million standard box equivalents, which is very close to the four-year average.
“Pear growers are reporting an excellent quality crop this season with some saying it is the best they have seen in a decade,” said Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest. “The fruit finish for this year’s pear crop is outstanding with beautiful shape and high sugars. These attributes make for remarkable eating quality leading to a high level of consumer satisfaction. There will be a full range of sizes available, including popular large-sized fruit, smaller sizes to fill the trendy pouch bags, as well as sizes to fulfill export market demand. Our team has been working hard to get good, effective promotions up and running to get the season off to a strong start. Retailers are engaged and optimistic about the pear season, as is our team and the sales organizations we have coordinated with during recent strategy calls.”
Harvest started in early August for summer varieties like Starkrimson and Bartletts across all regions, with growers beginning to pick Bosc, Green and Red Anjou within the next two weeks. Specialty pears like Comice, Seckel, Forelle and Concorde pears will be available in September to add an array of unique and flavorful pear choices for shoppers.
The organic pear estimate is expected to come in at 1.94 million standard boxes, which is nearly 12 percent of the total projected Northwest crop.
“The industry is passionate about providing consumers with the best possible eating experience,” said Moffitt. “To meet consumer demands for sweet and juicy pears to enjoy one to three days from purchase, the industry continues to expand and promote the conditioning program, which is proven to increase retail sales and enhance the consumer eating experience.”
PBNW Lead Regional Marketing Manager Bob Catinella added, “With strong momentum out of the gate, this season is off to a great start. We have a strong promotion plan in place and retailers have shown initial enthusiasm towards implementing pear promotions in-store and online.”
Making use of the latest trends and innovations in digital marketing as well as inside stores, PBNW has launched fresh promotions across the U.S. and Canada. The 2021-22 season has started with an emphasis on generating excitement around summer varieties like Bartlett and bright red Starkrimsons, using pears for back-to-school snacks, leading up to Halloween promotions. PBNW has greatly expanded its online shopping programs at retail sites over the past season and will continue to do so throughout 2021-22 with banner ads and other shopper marketing promotions. Display bins with bright, attractive graphics are beginning to be distributed to retailers around the U.S. These bins feature a QR code leading shoppers to short videos introducing the growers of USA Pears.
“Consumers continue to be very interested in knowing where their food comes from. These videos bring them right into the beautiful orchards of the Pacific Northwest to meet the growers who take such great care to bring fresh USA Pears to the marketplace,” said Moffitt.
Consumer advertising on social media channels will inspire consumers to add pears to their favorite recipes such as salads, hot cereal and even pizza with the theme that “Pears elevate everyday life.”
“While pears are incredibly versatile and can be used in a ton of recipes, we are focused on showcasing the simple application of pears to everyday dishes as a way to elevate flavor, nutrition and sense of well-being,” said PBNW Creative Marketing Manager Neil Ferguson. “Consumers want food that is easy to make and fits into the rhythm of life, and pears make a delicious addition. As always, we will continue reinforcing pear storage and ripening, providing education to consumers so they can have the best possible eating experience with pears.”
Promotions that follow will include a #PearPizza takeover in October for National Pizza Month, World Pear Day on Dec. 5, and baking and entertaining during the holidays.
The PBNW export team continues to look for new innovative ways to reach consumers and build on the success of the past season with its digital consumer outreach activities.
“PBNW has shifted its marketing focus to more digital consumer outreach last season and will continue that promotional pivot into the upcoming season. PBNW will have a good promotional presence in 20 export markets, with more promotional focus and priority to the close-proximity export markets — Mexico, Canada and the Central America region — which have been the leading export markets for the industry,” said Jeff Correa, director of export promotions.