A Sustainable Solution For Apples: Stemilt’s EZ Band


New apple package delivers on convenience, sustainability and impact.

Stemilt Growers of Wenatchee, WA, has developed an innovative packaging to offer retailers and consumers a sustainable solution for selling and purchasing organic and conventional bulk apples. The company’s EZ Band packaging is a four-pack of apples made of two 100 percent paperboard pieces – a tray and a tension band holding it all together. “The EZ Band concept stemmed from knowing there was a need to sell apples in a bulk format that drives apple sales and reduces some of the labor involved in promoting bulk apples,” says Brianna Shales, marketing director at Stemilt. “It’s meant to be easy for the retailer to stock and easy for the consumer to shop!”

The EZ Band is the first of its kind in the U.S.  Shales explains it was created with the consumer in mind given adopted habits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “Packaged apples have been in high demand over the past two years,” she says. “According to Stemilt’s Fruit Tracker Report that analyzed Nielson scan data, pre-pandemic apple sales were at 80 percent bulk and 20 percent in bags/packaging. After the pandemic, these numbers have skewed to 60 percent bulk and 40 percent other packaging. It’s simply impossible to grow fruit for only bags, so the EZ Band by Stemilt was born. It provides an option for bulk fruit that is much easier for retailers to merchandise.”

The package concept was gleaned from other sustainable packaging solutions widely used in Europe. “The EZ Band uses as little packaging as possible to ensure as much visibility of the apples while limiting touch by people,” says Shales. “The packaging can be easily recycled in home recycling containers. The package also benefits the retailer because it travels through the supply chain easily and instantly displays at retail.”

Inside each pack are large-sized apples (48-64s) which have traditionally been sold by the pound off a PLU sticker. “This new pack is a step towards increasing purchase size of large fruit, brand awareness, and opens the door to automation capabilities for fruit packing efficiency,” says Shales.

EZ Band presents a host of advantages at retail since it is easy to merchandise and serves as a grab-and-go pack. “The UPC on the packaging helps efficiently move apples through the register and self-checkout stations and ensures the right ring, including organic, happens at the register,” says Shales. “It’s also easier to fulfill and promote product in e-commerce environments.”

Stemilt started the EZ Band with its club apples, Rave and SweeTango, to familiarize consumers with the brands first. Now, retailers can find Stemilt Artisan Organics apples in the EZ Band including Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Pink Lady medium-large size apples.

Stemilt Growers
Wenatchee, WA
Tel:  509-663-1451
Web: stemilt.com