Second is Best at Heinen’sanna
Vinnie Latessa, produce director at Heinen’s Grocery Store
Business: Local grocery chain with 23 store locations in Cleveland and Chicago
“EverCrisp® apples have the characteristics customers are looking for in a new apple: it’s a hard, crisp apple with sweet flavor. Customers love them,” says Vinnie Latessa, produce director at Heinen’s Grocery Store.
Being an Ohio-developed and grown apple, MAIA-1 apples – marketed as EverCrisp – complements Heinen’s strong local produce program. “We sell about a dozen locally-grown Ohio apple varieties and have good relationships with fruit growers,” says Vinnie. The retailer also sources EverCrisp apples from nearby Michigan.
Heinen’s starts the early season with local GingerGold and Paula Red apples, and ends with later varieties like Granny Smith and EverCrisp. In early November, Heinen’s Grocery Stores stocked EverCrisp at its 23 locations for its second year with the apple.
“EverCrisp is rivaling Honeycrisp sales. Even with a later start on the retail shelf, it’s a close second in our lineup of apples. We’re hoping to have it on the shelves until February 2018,” says Vinnie.
While EverCrisp is still a new name in the produce aisle, Heinen’s has invested in media and promotion of EverCrisp apples to customers this year, including an influencer campaign featuring Cleveland-area bloggers, to help increase awareness of the apple. He adds, “Store associates are knowledgeable about the apple and are on the floor constantly encouraging customers to sample it.”
“EverCrisp is a great value for customers. While a premium apple (approx. $2.49/lb), they still retail for less than the Honeycrisp,” shares Vinnie. “It’s a hardy and durable apple that is great for handling and storage on the retail side, and it’s quickly becoming a customer favorite.”
Apple industry outlook: Everyone is looking for the next big thing. EverCrisp is truly a great apple that has all the right characteristics to be successful at retail.
Future of EverCrisp apples: We’ll be looking at our apple program for next year. We don’t need as many of the Western-grown apples to compound what we’re doing with the great apples, like EverCrisp, grown locally.