Sep 6, 2022
Pear Bureau: NW fresh crop in line with 5-year average

Pear Bureau Northwest’s (PBNW) first official estimate of the 2022-23 fresh pear crop for Washington and Oregon is 16.2 million standard box (averaging 44 pounds) equivalents, which is on par with the five-year average.

Harvest is underway throughout the four growing regions.

Kevin Moffitt

“Pear growers are in full harvest mode right now, hand picking a new crop of beautiful, tasty pears starting with Bartletts and Starkrimson,” Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of PBNW, said in a news release. “There will be a full range of sizes available, including popular large-sized fruit as well as smaller sizes to fill the popular pouch bags as well as sizes to fulfill export market demand.

“Our team has been working hard to initiate innovative and effective promotions to get the season off to a good start,” Moffitt said in the release. “Retailers are engaged and optimistic about the pear season, as is our team and the sales organizations we have coordinated with during recent strategy calls.”

Across all regions, harvest started in mid-August for summer varieties like Starkrimson and Bartletts, with growers beginning to pick Bosc, Green and Red Anjou in early- to mid- September. Specialty pears like Comice, Seckel, Forelle and Concorde pears will also be available in September, to provide an exceptional assortment of unique and flavorful pear choices for shoppers.

The organic pear estimate is expected to come in at 1.82 million standard box equivalents, or 11% of the total projected Northwest crop.

“Our growers and shippers understand that consumers buy with their eyes, but flavor is what bring them back for more,” Moffitt said in the release. “The industry is passionate about providing consumers with the best possible eating experience.

“To meet consumer demands for sweet and juicy pears to enjoy one to three days from purchase, the industry continues to expand and promote the conditioning program, which is proven to increase retail sales and enhance the consumer eating experience,” he said in the release.

“As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, the Pear Bureau has been successful with in-person planning meetings with retailers nationwide,” Bob Catinella, PBNW director of merchandising, said in the release. “The produce industry values personal relationships. Some of this was lost the last couple of years, so we are working hard to reconnect and to develop creative programs that continue increasing consumption of the northwest pear crop.”

Domestic promotions planned

Capitalizing on the latest trends and innovations in digital marketing as well as in-store, PBNW is initiating fresh promotions across the U.S. and Canada. The 2022-23 season has kicked off with the launch of a new augmented reality experience, inspiring consumers to simply add pears to their everyday meals, and a new social campaign designed to continue elevating pears with a fresh perspective. Halloween promotions include spooky snack boards. PBNW will also continue to expand online shopping programs at retail with banner ads and other shopper marketing promotions.

Updated display bins with bright, attractive graphics will be distributed to retailers across the U.S. These bins feature quick-response codes, which lead shoppers to short videos introducing the growers of USA Pears and to an online collection of more than 400 recipes.

“Consumers continue to be very interested in knowing where their food comes from and who grows it,” Moffitt said in the release. “These videos bring them right into the beautiful orchards of the Pacific Northwest to meet the growers who take such great care and pride to bring fresh Pears to the marketplace.”

“While pears are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide variety of cooking applications, we are focusing on showcasing the simple application of pears to everyday dishes as a way to enhance recipes for any meal,” Jim Morris, marketing communications manager, said in the release. “Special promotions will include our annual celebration of Pear Pizza during October for National Pizza Month, World Pear Day on Dec. 3rd, and baking and entertaining during the holidays.

International promotions ready

The PBNW export team continues to look for new, innovative ways to reach consumers and to build on the success of the past season with its digital consumer outreach activities in markets around the world.

The Northwest pear industry will rely heavily on key exports markets like Mexico, Canada and the Central American region to once again successfully move the 2022 NW Pear crop.

“PBNW has bolstered the promotion budgets in these top export markets to continue to reach consumers in new and innovative ways through digital consumer outreach activities,” Jeff Correa, PBNBW international marketing director, said in the release. “As COVID restrictions are lessening in many countries, PBNW will also look to return to more in-person promotion activities, like in-store sampling promotions, which are very effective promotions for encouraging purchase.”

PHOTO: The Pear Bureau Northwest is anticipating a 2022-23 crop of fresh-market pears at 16.2 million standard boxes, on par with the five-year average.

PHOTO courtesy Pear Bureau Northwest

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