KIKU® ready for launch of 2015 season

With the KIKU® apple season now underway, Melinda Geda of Florida, is happy that her favorite apple is arriving back on the produce shelves. Geda, a longtime fan of KIKU® apples, recently shared her success via Facebook. “I lost 42 lbs eating one KIKU® apple every evening. I absolutely love these super sweet apples,” Geda wrote. “I know drinking a lot of water helped me on my weight-loss journey, but KIKU® apples were the answer”. Geda believes that KIKU® apples help control sugar cravings with their super-sweet flavor, and as an added bonus they deliver beneficial nutrients that bodies crave.

Columbia Marketing International (CMI), the marketing arm of the North American KIKU® brand apple alliance, announced that the KIKU® program has driven strong sales for retail partners. This year’s KIKU® program started strong with CMI’s alliance partners Rice Fruit Company, located in the heart of Pennsylvania and Applewood Orchards Inc. in Michigan.

Retailer partners that carry KIKU® apples have seen how the apple drives dollars into their apple category. With a higher average retail price ($2.32 for KIKU® vs. $1.64 for the apple category), buyers are willing to spend more to purchase premium KIKU®. So far this season, KIKU® sales are strong despite an average retail price approximately 40% higher than the category average for all apples.

Data from the Neilson Perishables group shows that KIKU® sales explode after the first of the year. Last season, in Q1 of 2014 KIKU® sales increased by over 300% between January 1 and February 1. KIKU® sales maintained momentum into February and remain at peak levels through mid-March. Last year KIKU® sales did not fall back to the levels of early January until the first week of April.

CMI is set to begin shipping their new crop KIKU® brand apples starting the second week of January. According to Vice President of Marketing, Steve Lutz, “Overall we are very pleased with the flavor profile of this year’s KIKU®. Consumers will be happy with the vibrant red striping that they have come to expect with KIKU® and their incredibly sweet flesh.”

The seasonal availability of KIKU® continues to increase each year. North American availability along with KIKU® apples available out of the southern Hemisphere in the spring and summer months may eventually lead to a year-round program with tonnage increases as new orchards begin to produce more fruit each season. CMI expects to ship U.S. grown brand KIKU® apples through March this season.

For more information:
Katharine Grove
CMI Apples
Tel: +1 509-888-3427
or +1 509-885-0444
Fax: +1 509-888-3418

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