Stemilt anticipates increase in organic this year

From The Packer | 24 April 2023

Overview of organic apples in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on April 21, 2023. 

Wenatchee, Wash-based Stemilt Growers has increased its supplies of organic Cosmic Crisp apples substantially after completing the organic transition process, says Brianna Shales, marketing director.

“We will continue to grow in organic Cosmic and other varieties as we head into what we hope will be a larger apple crop this fall,” she said.

In addition, Stemilt Growers has launched its EZ Band four-pack for organic apples.

“This 100% recyclable pack is a great option for ensuring the organic ring at the register and merchandising bulk-size organic apples,” Shales said. “We are expecting to broadly roll it out this fall as the new organic crop comes into play.”

ORGANIC FOOTPRINT

Stemilt grows and markets organic apples, pears, cherries and stone fruits under the Artisan Organics brand, Shales said.

“One hundred percent of our apricot, peach and nectarine crop is organic,” she said. “We are growing in organic apple volumes and [are] among the few organic cherry producers each summer with promotable supplies in July.”

apple volumes by history 3

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Organic cherries are challenging to grow, but Shales said Stemilt has the growers, varieties and sites that allow for the marketer to grow them with flavor in mind.

Shales said organic volume increases are anticipated with the 2023 crop year.

“We are expecting increases in organic apples in 2023-24 crop compared to 2022-23, as this was a short apple crop year,” she said. “Organic cherries should also rebound from a very short crop in 2022, with promotions available in the July timeframe as long as the bloom/crop set go as planned in Washington.”

Over the next several months, Stemilt will be engaged with promoting organic cherries, peaches and nectarines.

“We will be working closely to align seasonal produce items into organic promotions and help retailers call attention to peak seasons and grow dollars with organics,” Shales said.

Stemilt expects similar volumes of organic stone fruit this summer compared with 2022, she said, as stone fruit production doesn’t typically tend to have major crop fluctuations.

Retailers can expand organic sales with some planning of promotions, Shales said.

“Make sure there is a regular promotion strategy and help consumers find values in organics, even though they sell for a premium,” she said.

Organic produce continues to grow in consumer awareness and demand, Shales said.

“We have great opportunities in fresh produce to grow the organic share of stomach with healthy, wholesome fruits,” she said. “When we align organic with our flavor and freshness promise at Stemilt, and deliver on that promise, that is when we delight consumers and help grow organic sales.”

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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