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Consumer Research


Apple sales blossom

Apple sales blossom

Data released by market research company Nielsen shows that the apple is enjoying a surge in popularity amidst competition from so-called superfood fruits and more exotic fruits which are becoming more popular with today’s health conscious consumers.

Senior business development manager at ACNielsen, Simon Cox, said, “Total supermarket sales are growing at seven per cent year-on-year so the growth we are seeing in apples is ahead of market levels.  For such a mature and large category, attaining double digit growth is a significant achievement.”

Figures show that the sales of apples are growing over 10 per cent in the latest year and the market is now worth £610million.

Last year sales were flat overall with standard variants in decline and only organic apples showing signs of growth.  This year both organic (+10 per cent) and standard lines (+11 per cent) are performing well.  Organic varieties now account for 5 per cent of the market, worth £31million.

Cox continued, “We have identified that the consumer today requires foods that are both healthy and convenient and the apple naturally meets both of these criteria.”

Of standard lines Granny Smiths are enjoying a revival with growth of 13 per cent year-on-year – these now account for 9 per cent of all apple sales in Great Britain with £57 million sales in the latest year.

Cox apples have also enjoyed growth (+20 per cent) this year following a poor year in 2005.  Worth £43 million in the year to March ’07 sales have increased by over £7 million year-on-year.

Meanwhile sales of the red delicious apple have crumbled for the second year running.  This variant sold over £8 million worth in 2005 compared to the latest annual figures of just over £5.6 million.

Of the organic variants, Royal Gala apples are the most popular and in money terms, the fastest growing type with £12.6mil sales in the year to March ’07 an increase of £2.4 million versus the previous year.

Organic Pink Lady and organic Fuji apple’s are also growing in popularity with sales of £1.8 million (+7 per cent) and £1.3 million (+25 per cent) respectively.

Not selling so well are standard cooking apples which have declined 7.4 per cent year-on-year to £19.7 million.  Organic cooking apples are increasing in popularity but still represent a tiny segment of the market at £68,000.

Cox concluded, “In the coming year I expect to see further increases in organic lines.  Though in solid growth, organic apples have not yet reached their full potential and there is plenty of room for growth.”

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