Northwest pear industry announces 2023 crop estimate
With harvest underway throughout the four growing regions, Pear Bureau Northwest (PBNW) announced the first estimate of the 2023-24 fresh pear crop for Washington and Oregon. The industry’s fresh pear estimate is 15.2 million standard box equivalents, which is on par with the four-year average.
“Pear growers are in full harvest mode right now, hand-picking a new crop of beautiful, tasty pears starting with Bartletts and Starkrimson,” states Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of PBNW. “There will be a full range of sizes available, including large-sized fruit as well as smaller sizes to fill the popular pouch bags, as well as sizes to fulfill export market demand. Our team has been working hard to initiate innovative and effective promotions to get the season off to a good start. Retailers are engaged and optimistic about the pear season.”
Across all Northwest growing regions, harvest started in late August for summer varieties like Starkrimson and Bartletts, with growers beginning to pick Bosc, green, and red Anjou in early- to mid-September.
Specialty pears like Comice, Seckel, Forelle, and Concorde pears will also be available in September, providing unique and flavorful pear choices in an array of shapes and colors.
The organic pear estimate is expected to be 1.9 million standard boxes equivalents or 12.5% of the total projected Northwest crop.
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“Our growers and shippers understand that consumers buy with their eyes but flavor is what brings them back for more. The industry is driven to provide consumers with the best possible eating experience,” says Moffitt. “To meet consumer demands for sweet and juicy pears to enjoy one to three days from purchase, the industry continues to expand and promote the conditioning program, which is proven to increase retail sales and enhance the consumer eating experience,” Moffitt adds.
Bob Catinella, PBNW director of merchandising adds, “As shoppers continue to adapt to shopping on digital platforms, the Pear Bureau has seen success in reaching consumers online as well as in-store. We’ve been working closely with retailers to introduce new omni-channel programs to motivate purchase.”
Capitalizing on the latest trends and innovations in digital marketing as well as in-store, PBNW is initiating fresh promotions across the U.S. and Canada. The 2023-24 season will kick off with an updated social campaign by updating last season’s successful ‘Meet the Pear’ creative while inspiring consumers with simple ways they can add fresh pears to their everyday dishes. PBNW will also continue to expand online shopping programs at retail with sponsored search, shoppable recipes and other shopper marketing promotions.
“Pears are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide variety of cooking applications,” says Jim Morris, marketing communications manager. “This season we’re excited to create fun ways to help kids in the kitchen with a new e-book that offers several simple recipes they can prepare on their own.” The e-book will be available at usapears.org in October. Other special promotions for the season will include our annual celebration of World Pear Day on December 2 and new recipes, including one for World Diabetes Day on November 14, helping to promote pears as a ‘sweet you can eat.’
The PBNW export team also continues to look for new ways to reach consumers and to build on the success of the past season with its digital consumer outreach activities in markets around the world.
“Improving shipping conditions should lead to a brighter export outlook for the Northwest pear industry this season,” says Jeff Correa, international marketing director. “Mexico, Canada and Central America will be the key targeted markets and the Pear Bureau has plans to increase its advertising activities and consumer outreach events earlier in the season to get off to a strong start in these markets.”
“A return to in-store sampling in the Mexico market will help complement the added digital programs and advertising activities planned in that market. With shipping transit times returning closer to normal and container costs coming down, PBNW expects the industry to look to move more export volumes to key offshore export markets like Taiwan, UAE, Israel, Colombia and India than they did in the 2022-23 season.”