Apple and pear varieties have enjoyed nationwide growth
U.S. apple and pear sales were strong through December, showing an increase by 7 percent and 12 percent, respectively, consequences of double-digit organic growth in both categories, combined with strong showings by core and emerging apple varieties.
According to a press release from Domex Superfresh Growers, all core varieties had steady growth ranging from 3-15 percent. Proprietary varieties including Cosmic Crisp and Autumn Glory also increased in sales.
However, these gains were partially offset by declines in Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Cortland and Braeburn.
In particular, Autumn Glory saw record December shipments and nationwide growth, with sales up 54 percent and volume increases of 102 percent.
The Cosmic Crisp variety also continues to grow but not at levels seen in December of 2019. This variety grew 7 percent in sales and 18 percent in volume.
Though December apple growth was up, volume stayed consistent at 0.3 percent as the average price per pound increase of 6.6 percent to US$1.67.
Retail prices were all moving to the industry average, as proprietary varieties decreased to become more competitive with core and mature varieties.
The decline was evident with Cosmic Crisp dropping 9 percent to $2.65 per pound and Autumn Glory decreasing 24 percent to $1.85 per pound.
Core and mature varieties, however, rose in price due to increasing demand and the market rising, overall helping category growth, according to the press release.
The pear category showed a 6 percent increase in volume with average prices per pound rising 5 percent to $1.60. This increase in sales resulted from strong core pear growth.
Organic apple share continued at a record percentage of 15.9 percent of category dollars and 11.4 percent in volume. Organics sales are up 10 percent though volume is flat at a slight decrease of 0.9 percent.
Price per pound increased 11 percent to an average of $2.29.
Organic pear growth was up 11 percent in dollars and 13 percent in volume.
Nationally spiking cases of Covid-19 seem to be shifting focus back to packaged apples and pears for convenience and perceived food safety, according to the press release.