WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Postharvest Information Network

Saturday, February 16, 2019

WSU-TFREC/Postharvest Information Network/New Marketing Opportunities:
Some Bright Lights of Hope on the Horizon for Washington Apples

New Marketing Opportunities:
Some Bright Lights of Hope on the Horizon for Washington Apples


  • Per Capita Consumption
    • Consumption of several fresh fruit and vegetable items is up by more than 50% (some large categories have doubled!)
    • Total fresh fruit and vegetable consumption is up 11% in the past decade
  • What Is Driving Consumption
    • Items that are fresh cut
    • New varieties
    • Improved health perceptions
    • Positive P.R.

Fresh-Cut Apples

Technology is now available that keeps apple slices looking fresh for 21 days or more. Treatments include application of vitamin and mineral dips and are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  • No flavor or odor problems
  • Quick treatment time (30 seconds to 2 minutes)
  • Available on the market today

More Consumption Opportunities

  • Packaged consumer retail products
  • Salad bars
  • Banquet trays
  • Healthy snacks, soccer half-time, lunches
  • Children with missing teeth or braces
  • Food service: cut Monday, serve all week

Promising Consumer Acceptance

  • Consumer screening survey: 400 people in 8 malls, 4 cities nationwide, 50+ questions
  • Final results in April
  • Preliminary Scores: 84% "top 2 box," 58% "top box" (70% and 35% considered good)
  • 97% say experience with product meets or exceeds expectations.

Added Value

By changing the basic form of the product, we make apples more appealing for immediate consumption.

  • Apples slices now become quick snacks without guilt
  • Mother-approved
  • Easy to eat, no waste, readily available
  • Fit well with baby carrot snacking trend

Requirements for Success

  • Food safety and sanitation, food processing facilities, fresh cut expertise
  • "Move it today" mentality
  • High quality raw product (high pressure, clean skin, no bruises, sized, not peelers)
  • Solve logistics challenges
  • Retail merchandising and marketing support

Other Opportunities for Apples

Food service:

  • 786,000 food service outlets in the United States
  • 46% of food dollar now spent on food eaten away from home
  • Distributors want to increase produce sales
  • Pre-cuts will be a tremendous help in adding apples to food service menus
  • Food service wants smaller packages, no stickers, food safety programs

Convenience stores:

  • 97,000 convenience stores in the United States
  • Apples are healthy, portable snack food
  • Smaller cartons and specialty packaging may be required
  • Distribution network is based on dry goods and small volumes - key challenge
  • Washington State Apple Commission probing c-store market at this time


  • Some predict that Internet grocery shopping will control 15% to 30% market share in 15 years
  • Washington Apple Commission needs to capture position in this segment
  • New promotional and educational opportunities available in this format
  • Currently testing for promotional learnings

NRA Lunch Study:

  • #1 Preferred lunch item for female workers: FRESH FRUIT

Welcome Sauer

Washington State Apple Commission
P.O. Box 18, Wenatchee, WA 98807-0018

16th Annual Postharvest Conference, Yakima, WA
March 14-15,  2000

Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, 1100 N Western Ave, Washington State University, Wenatchee WA 98801, 509-663-8181, Contact Us