Wenatchee, WA – With a fresh, bold look and exciting new direction, it’s only natural that Starr Ranch Growers would shine its PMA Fresh Summit booth spotlight on one of its newest and brightest proprietary apple varieties, the appropriately named JUICI™.
In noting the company’s major rebranding, Starr Ranch Marketing Director Scott Marboe said, “We have a new look for the company and an energetic and exciting new direction and focus.” And as the company nears its 85th anniversary in 2019, Marboe said, “We are continuing to grow, and innovate. Things are really exciting!”
JUICI™, which has been a big hit at PMA and with retail customers over the past few years, maintains its showcase status this year Oct. 19-20 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Booth 3273.
Marboe noted that the Starr Ranch Growers team will be handing out JUICI™ apples and recipes as it conducts a cross-promotion with Litehouse brands. “It’s is not just an eating apple but a great apple to use in a multitude of cooking and meal options as well,” he said. The booth will have display bins and a new one-piece display and merchandising unit used at retail.
“People have been raving about it and wanting it in volume for many years,” Marboe continued. “This year we are finally at the point in production where we can really start to promote it fully, and we are excited for people to taste it and also see the new and exciting things going on at Starr Ranch Growers.”
Although not an overnight success, JUICI™ comes close. Since its introduction a few years ago, the breakout apple trademarked has captured not only the attention but also the taste buds of consumers here in the United States and in many foreign markets. Its incredible flavor and eating qualities come from its parents – it’s the happy union of a Honeycrisp and Braeburn – and combined with the energetic promotions Starr Ranch has put into motion, JUICI™ has become a consumers choice at retail.
Leigh Vaughn, senior category manager of produce with Associate Food Stores based in Salt Lake City, Utah, wrote, “The JUICI™ apple is a fantastic addition to our line of Starr Ranch Premium apples and we look forward again to this great flavored addition to our retail offerings.” And in the Windy City, Scott Bennett, vice president of produce/floral for Jewel-Osco, said, “We have been featuring the JUICI™ since it first came to market a few years ago. We get asked multiple times a year when it is going to be available again. It is very popular here in the Chicago market.”
New Englanders, too, love the JUICI™. Denise Dryzga, category manager/produce for Hannaford Supermarkets based in Portland, ME, said, “JUICI™ lives up to its name, very juicy with a big crunch. It is driving sales in our specialty apple subcategory, tied at the number-one spot with 17 percent growth.”
And Mike Tipton, vice president of produce and floral at Schnucks, said, “We look forward to the start of the JUICI™ apples because it gives us an opportunity to offer our customers a great tasting, uniquely flavored apple that many keep coming back for.”
Marboe said the 2018 crop has come in with much better sizing, although volume is down some. “Sizing is much better than last year when we had so many small apples, but this year it is a much better bell curve. There are not as many jumbo sizes as we expected, but we have a nice peak of 88,80 size on most varieties.”
And, he added, “Our organic production is up because of internal orchard growth and the addition of Apple King to our packers.”
All told, there will be close to 200,000 cartons of conventionally grown JUICI™ this year, and Marboe said organic JUICI™ will be available in 2020.