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US (WA): CMI rolls out new promotion for Ambrosia™ apples

In order to help retailers promote their apples and give consumers an easier way to carry their produce to the checkout stand, CMI International has begun shipping their Ambrosia™ apples with new tote bags. The bags are are in retail stores now and can be found with with current shipments of Ambrosia apples.

"We're very focused on getting the Ambrosia™ program in high step right now," said Bob Mast, vice president of marketing for CMI. Now in their seventh year of marketing the apple, they decided to introduce something new to make the variety stand out.

"This year we've introduced tote bags that are included in the Ambrosia™ shipper," explained Mast. "They're nice because not only do they provide a convenient way for customers to bag up their fruit, but they have the PLU identification on the handle to ensure that the apples are rung up properly.” The bags also contain a QR code that consumers can scan with their smartphones to see videos of growers talking about the Ambrosia™ apple. Those videos include information on the origins of the Ambrosia™, which come from a chance seedling found in a Canadian orchard.

"The origin of the apple is a mystery," said Mast. "We don't exactly know the parentage. Mother Nature, through pollination actually created a new variety. We refer to it as a kind of mystery apple."

Part of the Ambrosia™ story is also about how CMI and McDougall & Son’s (CMI’s largest growing entity and one of their founding Owners) is able to carefully manage the quality of the apples thanks to their exclusive North American license of the variety. Because they control who can grow the apple, CMI & McDougall & Son’s can keep tabs on production to ensure a consistently high level of quality.

"There are over 700 acres of Ambrosia™ in the Pacific Northwest, and that's held in the hands of less than 20 growers," said Mast. "So you can have some really tight controls and high standards when you have that." It's through those strict measures that they're able to maintain the Ambrosia's™ sweet taste on a consistent basis. And that's important because the taste, along with the unique coloring, is the apple's main draw.

"It has a nice honey flavor and the color really makes it stand out," said Mast. "Consumers are really starting to rally around it, and we're getting a lot of repeat purchases and requests for the variety during the off-season."

The Ambrosia's™window of availability began in September and should continue through March and possibly into April. Harvesting for their other varieties is almost finished, and pickers are racing to get the last of the fruit off the trees before temperatures dip and snow hits the orchards. With limited labor shortage problems thanks in part to the H-2A temporary agricultural labor program, Mast said that they expect another year of plentiful fruit; which is part of a trend they hope will continue.

"As production continues to ramp up over the next few years," he said, "we'll probably eclipse the 750,000 carton mark on Ambrosia™ Apples."

For more information:
Bob Mast
CMI International

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