Recent crop reports on Washington apples reflect significant changes growers for Columbia Marketing International have made in recent years and show how the industry overall is responding to evolving consumer demands.
“Market prices for apples send very clear signals to our growers on what varieties they should expand and which apple trees should be removed,” CMI’s vice president for marketing Steve Lutz said in an Aug. 6 news release.
“The message growers heard loud and clear from the 2014 crop is that retailers and consumers want more Honeycrisp and branded apple programs.”
The late summer crop estimate issued by the Washington State Tree Fruit Association shows a total crop estimate of 125,210 million cartons, compared with the previous year’s 140 million box crop. Lutz said in the release it is not surprising to see a predicted decline of more than 10% because bumper years are usually followed by lighter production.
The report predicts production of Honeycrisp will leap by 33% in the coming year while red delicious production is expected to drop by 26.2%. Golden delicious are expected to decline by 24.5%, according to the report. single-digit declines are predicted for galas and Fujis with granny smith production expected to be unchanged.
“Our growers are reporting they expect production declines in reds and goldens to be larger than the state average,” Lutz said in the release. “We will have significant increases in Honeycrisp, particularly from newly planted orchards with high-colored fruit.
“The hidden news in the 2015 crop report is that newer variety apples continue to make up for the erosion in production of the legacy varieties.”
CMI’s growers already stepped up Honeycrisp production and the company introduced its Happy Bee Honeycrisp pouch bag program to help retailers capitalize on the variety’s success, according to the release.
“We’ll also have significant increases in production of our popular branded apples like Ambrosia, Kiku and Kanzi,” Lutz said in the release.
Story from thepacker.com