Apple Culture

Introduce New Varieties

Envy Apples

Photo Courtesy of Envy Apples

New varieties introduced at retail require a significant investment in marketing to differentiate them from the rest of the newly introduced pack, say grower-shippers.

Sampling, additional display space and promotions both in-store and in print ads are ways Meijer’s Stickler says the chain has introduced new varieties such as the Lady Alice, Envy and Ambrosia.

“Taste samples are the best way to engage consumers with an apple they’ve never tried,” says Oppy’s Nelley, who with T&G North America took its Envy-brand apple on a roadshow from Boston to San Francisco earlier this year, saturating these markets with promotional activity and holding taste demos alongside retail displays in the produce department. “In Boston, one retailer recorded a 35 percent lift in sales. Through the roadshow, thousands of consumers who had never tried Envy are now converted (and committed) fans, and have joined the ranks of the apple’s social media faithful. The high-impact promotion will appear at retailers in Texas through the month of November.”

Overall, CMI’s Lutz recommends three keys to success for new variety introductions. “First, they have to be priced right. Since Honeycrisp is the gold standard to consumers, the data is clear these varieties must be priced slightly below the Honeycrisp retail, but above the legacy apples. Second, new apples need consistent distribution. Short-term distribution never allows sufficient time for the variety to gain traction and consistent purchases. Third, merchandising that creates shelf visibility is key. Unless the retailer can build a unique display or create a secondary display location, the ‘new’ apples get lost in a sea of choices, and consumers just don’t realize there is a new product to try.”