WENATCHEE, WASH. - Apple dollar sales were down 1.2% over the last 12 weeks, compared to same timeframe in 2019. Bagged apples, however, have shown strength amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with 38% of dollars and 44% of volumes generated from packaged apples between Aug. 8 and Oct. 24, according to new data from Stemilt Growers. 

“Packaged apples are up 7% in dollars and 9.3% year-over-year,” said Brianna Shales, senior marketing manager for Stemilt. “This is influencing apple dollars, as there is currently a $0.50 differential between bags and bulk. There is a balance in the normal disruption and now is the time for retailers to reimagine the way that bulk apples are sold so that we can help shoppers get them into their carts.” 

The company has a new paper tote bag, called Farm + Famous, to help retailers sell core apple varieties at a per pound price during this time. It allows retailers to sell bulk sizes and premium quality fruit while driving up the purchase size and capturing valuable dollars. 

Stemilt has noticed mixed messages in the top apple varieties over the past 12 weeks, with Honeycrisp up nationally 7.6% in dollars and 6.8% in volume. Fuji had similar growth while dollars and volume were down for gala.