Import apple sales continue to grow in U.S. supermarkets. The latest data from Nielsen Perishables Group through June 1 shows strong increases in sales and volume for key import apple brands.
“International production from our Southern Hemisphere club variety partners continues to grow and we’re seeing it payoff in terms of greater supermarket sales during the summer months,” Robb Myers, director of sales and imports at CMI, said in a press release.
According to Myers, U.S. supermarket volume of “KIKU” brand apples doubled during May. Other import brands such as Kanzi, Koru, Sweet Tango, Pacific Rose, and Ambrosia are also showing gains.
Myers identified improved supermarket distribution as a key factor driving growth as retailers change their approach with regard to import apples. “Winning retailers are allocating more shelf space to club varieties and brands just like they have for summer Navels,” said Myers. “In the past we saw some club apple brands suffer during summer as retailers cut back distribution and shelf space to make room for seasonal products like stone fruit, melons and grapes. That’s really changed. On ‘KIKU’ brand alone, U.S. retail distribution increased by over 50 percent.”
Myers also reports that Southern Hemisphere producers have increased their focus on the club variety apples as U.S. production of mainline apples has grown.
“Southern Hemisphere growers used to be much more focused on sending apples like Gala and Fuji to the U.S. market,” he said. “With increased storage and production of those varieties available domestically, the stronger sales opportunities are in growing club brands like KIKU, Kanzi, Ambrosia, Envy and others.
“These club apple brands are a great incremental sales driver for supermarkets,” said Myers. “Apple consumers are loyal and when they see fresh products in the stores, it energizes the category at precisely the right time in the summer when retailers need it.”
Imported Ambrosia apples and Golden Bosc pears are available from CMI through the end of July, while KIKU, Kanzi and Cripps Pink apples will be shipping through August.