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North American organic pear category continues to grow
“We just finished up on organic Bartletts for the season,” says Andy Tudor with Rainier Fruit. Organic Red and Bosc pears will be carried into March and organic D’Anjous will be available until April. Rainier’s organic pear acreage has been pretty stable over the past four years. However, the 2018 crop is expected to bring substantial acreage increase both for Rainier and Washington state, which lists about 1,200 acres in transition from conventional to organic. The Bartlett variety will see the largest organic acreage increase, followed by D’Anjou and Bosc.
Huge challenge to move volume
“The overall pear category has been flat at best,” commented Tudor. “The organic category displaces conventional pears and the net result is a flat category. We will all have a huge challenge on our hands to move through the potential volume of organic pears next season.” Pear growers voted for the Pear Bureau not to use assessment funds to promote organic pears. As a result, each shipper must develop retail programs.
Pouch bags help move smaller sizes
Rainier Fruit is in its second season of offering organic pears in pouch bags. “The 2 lb. and 3 lb. organic pouches have been a bright spot for retailers,” Tudor said. He believes they do so well, because they are displayed in different areas in the store. Additionally, pouch bags contain smaller pears that are just the right size for kids. “With this year’s crop containing a significant share of smaller pears, the pouch bags definitely helped in moving the crop.” Most of Rainier’s organic pears ship into North American markets.
Rainier Fruit Company
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