Kathy Stephenson of Pear Bureau Northwest

“We’re reinforcing messages around the industry’s commitment to flavor”

For the Pear Bureau Northwest, this is the main reason why it is exhibiting at this year’s PMA Fresh Summit, taking place virtually October 13-15

“Everybody had to look hard at what their key objectives were for being at the show. For us, it’s the interaction with buyers and the spontaneous meetings in the aisles or in networking events,” says Kathy Stephenson of Pear Bureau Northwest based in Milwaukie, OR. “With that lost, we had to consider what presence we want to have. We rely heavily on our relationship with the PMA so we’re choosing to have a presence at the show by supporting them with a platinum sponsorship.”

Photo: Pear Bureau Northwest

Fresh Summit comes at a time when pears in the Northwest are wrapping up harvest and moving into storage and shipping fruit. “We’ve had some really great weather and growing conditions and the crop is ever so slightly above last year. We’re at about 16.6 million standard boxes which is slightly above last season,” says Stephenson. “Imports were light this year and California has a lighter crop so we’ve seen a pickup in retailers transitioning more quickly into Northwest pears and shipping has already started successfully. We are off to a strong start.”

The industry is currently moving Bartletts and Starkrimson pears. “They are moving very well,” adds Stephenson. ‘Bartletts have the highest awareness of the varieties we ship so we’re seeing good demand there.”

A variety of sizes
Pear quality is excellent and sizing is also good this season. “We have a very promotable crop across all sizes,” says Stephenson. “We see demand for small fruit going into bags. Pouches are an important tool for shoppers who want to spend less time in the store and prefer grab-and-go options. For our growers, that’s great. They can move the smaller pears as well as the high demand bulk display that you see in larger pears. We’re always happy to see a distribution of sizes.”

The show will give Pear Bureau Northwest a chance to reinforce some key messages, particularly around the industry’s commitment to flavor. “We’ve worked hard over the several years to get retailers to display a conditioned pear closer to ripeness so consumers can eat them a day or two after getting them home,” says Stephenson.

Photo: Pear Bureau Northwest

And some of those messages will be carried out via the artificial intelligence technology PMA is using with the show. “If someone’s looking for pears, the AI will connect us with the expectation that our site will come up as a resource. We can help them learn about how to promote conditioned pears and more. We’re all about education, and we have training available, support, and then even more ideas to help grow the pear category.”

What also appeals to the Pear Bureau Northwest is the show’s audience possibilities. “We see potential for more visitors down the produce chain,” says Stephenson. “The greater opportunity to connect and educate all levels of produce staff is exciting to us too.”

For more information:
Kathy Stephenson
Pear Bureau Northwest
Ph: +1 (503) 807-6110

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