Demand for organic apples continues to jump, a trend that’s only been fueled by the pandemic.
“The focus on the perceived benefits of organics have increased demand. This will become a longer-term trend as organic growth hasn’t slowed down in over 15 years,” says Cat Gipe-Stewart, communications manager with Superfresh Growers based in Yakima, WA. “The pandemic is solidifying what we already knew.” She adds that increased supplies are also driving consumption and that orchards are rapidly transitioning to organic via a three-year process. “This means that the overall apple volume may remain steady but is shifting from conventional to organic.”
Increased supplies of organic apples are helping drive consumption.
Superfresh reports that its demand is up significantly. “Last 52 weeks January 2021, organics are up 13 percent in dollars and equally up in volume. Organic dollar share is 16 percent and volume share is 12 percent,” says Gipe-Stewart. Compared to the same time last year, organics were only up five percent in dollars and eight percent in volume. “The organic dollar share was only 11 percent and the volume share was less than nine percent. 2020 was a big year for organic growth,” she says.
More apples help demand
As Gipe-Stewart noted, greater supplies are available on organic apples. For Superfresh Growers, its organic Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala and Honeycrisp will go into July while organic Pink Lady and Autumn Glory will go into the spring. (The latter two varieties have especially grown in volume for Superfresh Growers, enough to warrant extending availability on those varieties until spring.) It’s currently wrapping up its organic Cosmic Crisp volumes. “Our organic supply continues to grow as orchards roll through transition. We will have organics nearly year-round, as we often start picking some new crop apple and pear varieties as early as July,” she says.
Cat Gipe-Stewart says larger volumes of Autumn Glory apples mean supplies will go into the spring.
As these changes come, shifts in pricing may occur as well. “As organic volume and demand grows, we’re seeing more opportunities for promotional pricing,” says Gipe-Stewart. “Additionally, as we move certain varieties to 25 percent of what we grow to organic, we’ll be able to support a full organic program and move away from conventional for specific retailer partners.”
Superfresh Organics recently introduced branded purple packaging for its apples and pears.
To support its organic line, the company also recently released its Superfresh Organics branding with purple packaging for both apples and pears. Gipe-Stewart says the bright color on the packaging is designed to not only catch the consumer’s eye, but also helps signify to consumers that the products are organic.