It’s easy to see why Arctic® apples’ nonbrowning trait makes them extremely well-suited for products like sliced, diced, and quartered apples, but is the freshcut market really a big deal? How big is the freshcut market anyway and what’s its projection?
A summary of a recent report from the Produce Marketing Association, explains that “the U.S. freshcut fruit and vegetable market is one of the fastest growing (market) segments” and “is an estimated $27 billion market.” It emphasized that strong growth is expected to continue for freshcut products as consumer demand for convenience and “healthier grab-and-go” snack options continue to increase.
The numbers (available in the downloadable report) most certainly back these statements up, especially for fruit. U.S. retail sales for freshcut fruit increased more than 10% in both sales and volume from 2012 to 2013.
So how about apples, specifically? Well the same report shows apples now account for the largest unit share of any freshcut fruit (33%), though only a 21% dollar share. It’s worth noting that carrots, boosted by the innovative convenience of “baby” carrots (which we often use as a comparable for Arctic® apples as a potential consumption trigger), enjoy a 47% dollar share of freshcut veggie sales, easily ranking them first in the category.
With the data clearly demonstrating a large demand for freshcut apples, it may surprise you to learn that according to the most recently available data from the USDA, less than 2% of apples are sold as fresh slices! And, despite the overall growth of freshcut sales, the percentage of apples used for slices has remained stagnant for the past 5+ years.
It feels like there’s a dam just waiting to burst when it comes to freshcut apples, and according to PMA’s report, the biggest barriers to consumers’ purchases of freshcut “include price, poor quality from past experiences and limited shelf life.”
Logically, the most effective way to take advantage of the apple industry’s most underutilized market would be to overcome these key barriers, and nonbrowning Arctic® apples do exactly that!
- Price – by reducing the need for anti-browning treatments and the labor involved in their application, processing costs can be reduced up to 40%.
- Flavor – Because Arctic® apples don’t require anti-browning treatments, which can impart an “off-taste” the apples’ natural flavor is better retained.
- Overall quality – Arctic® apples better retain their eye-and-mouth appeal, as well as the nutrients that are typically consumed in the browning reaction!
The freshcut market is going nowhere but up; kids eat more apples (and waste less) when served pre-sliced; the added convenience of baby carrots doubled carrot consumption; consumers prefer freshcut apples without anti-browning treatments. These are all convincing reasons why we believe Arctic® apples will revolutionize freshcut apples, leading to producers finding greater success and consumers eating more apples than ever!