Pouch bags help to increase overall sales

Shortage of smaller fruit strengthens US pear market

Pear growers in Washington are busy packing and shipping as the Fall season comes to a close. Harvesting has come to an end now, and the season was favorable, although total volume was down in the region. Anjous however, saw an increase in volume. 

"Our late higher elevation orchards were picked mid-October, and now all varieties have been harvested," said Ryan Denney, from First Fruits Marketing of Washington. "We are roughly 73% shipped on Bartlett’s, 23% shipped on Anjou’s and 30% shipped on Bosc as an industry for the season. This season's growing conditions have been some of the best in the last 6 to 7 years, although total crop volume for the industry is down over the last 5 years. Anjou volume is up while Bartlett and Bosc volumes are down compared to last season."

Fruit sizes tending larger
Growing conditions have been favorable in the Northwest, with good yields and quality coming through. Fruit sizes are larger this season and there is a shortage of smaller size pears as the season progresses. Combined with a number of varieties closing out for the season, it has resulted in a strong market.

"It's been a great season and overall quality is good," said Denney. "The recent wet weather in the Pacific Northwest has not affected the fruit at all, since it was already harvested. Fruit sizes on pears are larger at this stage of the season, as opposed to apples which have been running smaller in the Northwest. Our growers are attributing this to weather factors which resulted in a slightly delayed harvest. At the start of the season, we saw a lot of smaller fruit but the market is now tight on the smaller sizes, particularly foodservice sizing. Therefore, the smaller pears are attracting higher pricing. Overall, we are seeing the market strengthening, especially on the Bartletts as more growers finish shipping on those for the season. Anjou pears are strengthening also while red pears are reasonable at the moment."

Pouches helping movement
Denney noted that pouch bags have been proving very popular among customers. He also said that they have helped move more volume as well as helped to increase the overall sale of pears.

"The 2lb and 3lb pouch bags have been very popular among customers," he said. "They have helped to increase pear sales in retail supermarkets and push more volume, especially of the smaller pears. It has provided a greater opportunity to move the smaller pears, of which we had more of at the start of the season."

For more information:
Ryan Denney
First Fruits Marketing of Washington
Tel: +1 (509) 853-4710

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