Winter is an opportunity to promote organic apples, but sales require dedicated support.
Chuck Sinks, president of sales and marketing at Sage Fruit Co., Yakima, WA, says winter is the perfect time to grow organic apples as they are at their peak availability and are seen as a healthier and more work well for New Year displays.
In general, an organic consumer is looking for organic products to fill his basket in the whole store. “Price is less of a factor in their buying decision,” adds Sinks, “however, a consumer who is only an occasional organic shopper may add organic items if they are on sale.”
Separating conventional and organic apples on the shelf makes it easier for organic devotees to find what they’re looking for, he continues, and “because organic produce commands a higher price, they need a separate promotion”.
Organic apples are important, says Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, because they account for up to 15% of total apple dollars. Separating organic produce is the popular trend, she adds, but having it near conventional apple displays “helps the organic consumer find the product faster and easier.”
Audrey Desnoyers, National Business Development Manager and Sales Manager at Oppy, Vancouver, British Columbia, says organic apples are all the rage. “With many different varieties, the organic offerings can cycle through these new apples and keep a lot of excitement going. Also, people who buy organic are not as price conscious, so the new premium apple varieties can really appeal to those consumers.
The need to properly identify organic products should be a priority, stresses Trish Taylor, Marketing Manager, Riveridge Produce Marketing, Sparta, MI.
“Organic products are about giving consumers choice,” she says. “Because it’s about choice, consumers shouldn’t be able to accidentally buy organic products when they intended to buy conventional products for their cost, taste or region.”
Don Roper, vice president of sales and marketing, Honeybear Marketing, Brewster, WA, says organics plays a key role, “because it’s a set of customers who, for the most part, are extremely loyal to organic foods, willingly pay more for organic food offers, and is a growing customer segment. You need to cater to and market to this customer base to maximize not only organic apple sales, but your organic P&L as well.”
He says retailers can maintain the basic merchandising model of the larger organic apple merchandising aisle, but a little extra push can give sales an extra boost.
Brianna Shales, Marketing Director of Stemilt Growers, Wenatchee, WA, says organics deserve regular promotion and “several varieties on the ad at once to help lift the whole category.”
“Organic Honeycrisp accounts for a large portion of organic apple sales,” Shales points out. “If that’s not in the mix, retailers are leaving money behind. Promoting other premium organic varieties is also key to providing organic shoppers with the quality and flavor experience they seek.