Movement of pears in North America are even currently.
“We had a great Bartlett pear crop come in this harvest. Sizing is about the same as last year, with minute changes based on variety and harvest timing,” says Cat Gipe-Stewart, communications manager with Superfresh Growers based in Yakima, WA. “The bin estimate volume coming in looks very similar to last year.”
Pear volumes are coming out of the Pacific Northwest and Gipe-Stewart notes its supplies are about 35 percent organic. “Our harvest starts with earlier varieties such as Bartlett and Bosc in the lower valley areas near our headquarters in Yakima, WA, and finishes with later varieties and in our more northern orchards near the Canadian border,” she says.
Right now, Bartlett, Bosc and Red Pears are in season with Anjou just starting. “Our Anjou pear momentum is building, both green and red Anjou,” says Gipe-Stewart. “We continue to have a steady supply of Asian pears, which have risen to the 4th place in pears over the last few years (Nielsen).”
On demand, Gipe-Stewart notes it’s coming from throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico and also adds that South and Central America, Middle East and India are all strong, developing markets.
According to Nielsen data for the last four weeks ending 9/11, pear dollars were up four percent while volume remained flat at 0.1 percent with average retail up four percent to $1.79.
Strong pear start
More specifically on varieties, Bartlett pears sales rose five percent in dollars and one percent in volume with average retail rising five percent to $1.67/lb. Bosc pears fell in line next and pushed Anjou down given the Pacific Northwest was cleaning up its storage of Anjou. Bosc pears were up 11 percent in dollars and up eight percent in volume with retail up three percent to $2.08. “These numbers are indicative of the strong Northwest pear start we’ve had so far,” says Gipe-Stewart.
Organics of course is also of note. According again to Nielsen, organic pear dollars jumped up 16 percent in year over year growth with volume up two percent and average retail up 14 percent to $2.28/lb. Organic volume share was also up at eight percent, picking up again after the dip it’d seen last summer. “This will continue to rise and hopefully meet the last year average of 12 percent,” says Gipe-Stewart.
In terms of packaged sales, the packaging dollar share remained low at 18 percent, unlike the mid-20s average seen during the peak of the pandemic. Packaging dollars were up 47 percent however and volume was up 46 percent year over year, alluding to the rise in overall volume share over the coming harvest months says Gipe-Stewart.