The Upcoming Rave® + SweeTango® Season 2023
Wednesday, July 19th 2023 // Chandler James
SPARTA, MI – We have some exciting apple varieties coming down the pipeline as Applewood Fresh Growers prepares to kick off its season for two stand-out brands. The grower/packer announced that its Michigan Rave® apples will begin the second to last week of August, and the Michigan SweeTango season is expected to begin in the first week of September
“We look to have a good crop coming this year in Michigan—one that is well above the five-year average for volume,” began Brian Coates, Vice President. “Still some time to go in the growing season, but as of now, the quality looks to be very clean, with a good range of size in the fruit.”
Brian explained that branded varieties with their higher, premium flavor strengthen the customer’s perception of these unique apples.
“They will come back looking for those varieties that had a great eating experience,” he said. “There is potential for higher price points at retail rather than core varieties, which also drives sales in the apple category.”
Scott Swindeman, President, also commented on the outlook for this season.
“As of this moment, our volume of Rave will be close to double of last year’s, as we are the only packer and shipper of this variety in Michigan. I also believe our SweeTango volume will be up 15–20 percent over last year,” Scott told me.
He went on to say that the SweeTango brand regularly sells more than any other club variety in the first two weeks of October.
“We are finalizing marketing tactics, crop estimations, focusing on packaging elements, and more before the start of the season,” Shelby Babcock, Marketing and Sales Specialist, chimed in. “We are finding ways to show people what Michigan apples are all about, with premium flavor and locality at the forefront.”
Shelby noted that the additional marketing support available behind branded varieties provides an advantage to retailers, with the use of marketing toolkits at their fingertips.
“Rave, also known as MN55, is the #2 club variety in the Northeast and #6 club apple by volume nationally in September and October,” Shelby added. “It is the staple to the start of the fall season with apples, as it stands for the perfect back-to-school apple.”
As retailers look to maximize ROI in the apple set, the Applewood Fresh team has some tips to share.
“We believe retailers can gain exposure of these varieties in-store through placing them next to high-volume apples like Honeycrisp or display at the front of their departments to create a high flavor first impression for customers shopping their produce departments,” Brian relayed.
Shelby continued, stating, “Satellite displays, branded in-store signage, in-store demos and sampling, shelf-talkers, and check-out lane inclusions are some of the many ways retailers can best position these varieties in store. Getting samples of these apples in the hands of customers will have them coming back for more.”
Take it from the Applewood Fresh team—branded apples should be on your shelf if you’re looking to boost apple sales this fall.
Source: And Now You Know