Apples made up 8.4% of fresh produce sales in January, up 1.8% from January 2018, according to a new industry estimate.
While sales were up, volumes were similar to last year, according to the latest Fruit Tracker Fast Facts analysis from Wenatchee, Washington-based grower-shipper Stemilt Growers.
Apples sold for $1.62 per pound in January, up a penny over last year at the same time. By region, the sales increases were highest in the Midwest, which saw a 9.7% sales jump.
“Apple movement continued its brisk pace in the New Year despite some frigid temperatures late in the month,” says Brianna Shales, Stemilt’s communications manager. “Fruit quality and key varieties in the right size profiles continue to fuel bulk promotions and category performance. With a smaller U.S. apple crop this year when compared to last, we expect to see average retails to continue to creep up in the spring and summer months.”
Four out of 10 apples sold were Gala or Honeycrisp in January 2019, with Fuji, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith rounding out the top five apple varieties. Gala held the top position and saw dollars increase a whopping 17.3% when compared to January 2018. Not surprisingly, Honeycrisp commanded the highest average retail price of top ten apples at $2.43 per pound.
“Honeycrisp performance shows it’s still the consumer favorite and sells at premium prices, but the performance of Gala and month-over-month increases in Fuji volumes are great signs of a healthy apple category and strong promotion execution at retail,” says Shales.