An analysis of retail apple marketing

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


In an attempt to provide a consistently high quality product to the consumer, the apple industry is currently considering making condition a part of grade. Information concerning apple movement at the retail level is needed to help determine where such standards should be set. To provide such information, a study of six stores located in Southwest Virginia was undertaken to determine how long apples remain in retail displays under current marketing practices. Observations were also made on marketing practices which affected the quality of fruit reaching the consumer.

Each store was studied for a minimum two week period. Current stocks and incoming lots were color coded and counted each day to determine the length of time apples remained on the retail shelf. Samples were taken of lots when they entered the store and after they had been on display. An oral interview was conducted with each of the produce managers.

The results indicate that 95 percent of bagged, loose, and overwrapped apples were sold within 7, 9, and 12 days respectively. Sales of bagged apples were 4 times that of overwraps and loose combined. The results of the produce managers' interviews indicated that they are usually satisified with the product they are receiving.

The study indicates that the required shelf life of apples could be reduced through improved merchandising practices. The quality of apples reaching the consumer could be improved by making condition part of grade.