For the North American apple industry, there’s no bigger month in the year than October. Most growers get to enjoy the conclusion off harvest (and the 14 hour workdays that go along with it!) and consumers get to enjoy the freshest apples of the year. While “National Apple Month” is now behind us, there’s a great sense of optimism and energy in the industry, and plenty of good reason for it.
After decades of flat-to-declining apple consumption in the U.S., there’s been a small boost in apple consumption over the past couple years, which is especially important as the number of apples produced has been increasing as well.
Thanks to increasingly efficient growing techniques and technologies (such as value-added rootstocks), growers are able to produce more apples than ever before while utilizing less land and fewer inputs. As a result, record-breaking harvests are becoming almost commonplace. Recent news that Washington State, which produces well over half of all U.S. apples, is poised to smash their all-time production record of a 128 bushels (set in 2012) is a great example.
So how can the apple industry continue boosting demand to keep up with increasing supplies? Innovative, novel products and exciting new varieties!
We attended the produce industry’s biggest annual event – PMA Fresh Summit – last month and new products and varieties were everywhere you looked. Products like freeze-dried apple snack bags, grab-and-go snack packs with apple slices, mini-apples with innovative packaging, and even birthday cake flavored dried apple chips (I know, I know – but they’re actually pretty good!).
It’s not just here in North America that we’re seeing innovative apple products either, as this fall alone a pink fleshed apple went on sale in the UK and the world was introduced to an apple that “fizzes in the mouth” when eaten!
So, with consumption, production and innovation all on the upswing (and we’ve heard rumors of another highly anticipated variety expected to be approved soon – *wink, wink*) it’s certainly an exciting time to be an apple lover!!