TRADE: NYAA’s work keeps apples in front of consumers at a nontraditional time of year

Fishers, N.Y. – New York Apple Association is keeping the state’s apples top of mind with consumers at a nontraditional time of year for apples, using a range of outreach activities in early 2015.

“This time of year, in late winter, it can be hard to find good-tasting fresh fruit of any kind,” says New York Apple Association (NYAA) President Jim Allen. “We are letting consumers know that they can still count on New York state apples.”

To help consumers rethink apples as more than a fall food, NYAA is engaging in several consumer outreach activities. In January, the association advocated resolving to eat two apples a day, for better health. This month, NYAA’s Consulting Dietitian Linda Quinn is tying into the dietetics industry’s National Nutrition Month celebration. The 2015 theme, “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle,” is well suited for apples.

On the retail front, NYAA staff has been actively working with key retailers to promote New York state apples at this nontraditional time of year for retail apple promotions. Retail activities have included in-store product and cooking demonstrations, display contests, in-store features and incremental displays, as well as digital coupons.

Consumers can find ample supplies of many varieties of New York state apples on the market now, though some early-season varieties may be out of stock. While New York’s 2014 harvest was 11 percent smaller than 2013’s near-record crop, the state’s apple production has generally been increasing.

Why are more apples in New York state today? Allen quotes Bob Dylan, saying “the times they are a’changin’.” New York growers have increased plantings to deliver more of the new varieties and old favorites that consumers love. That includes Honeycrisp and Gala, as well as New York state standards such as Empire and Cortland. The state now has 25 percent more trees than just a few years ago, Allen reports.

Apple packers have also invested in packing and storage technology that helps maintain just-picked fruit flavor and quality. For example, controlled-atmosphere storage is like suspended animation for apples; internal defect sorting is like x-ray vision.

“As a result, we can better deliver on our commitment to get our apples to consumers fresher and faster than anywhere else,” says Allen. “Support your local apple growers, and buy some New York state apples today!”

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