For the first time in decades, Red Delicious apples will not be the No. 1 variety by volume in Washington this season, another sign of the variety’s declining popularity among U.S. consumers. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower file photo)
The Red Delicious is having a rough year.
First, U.S. shoppers relegated Red Delicious to third place on the popularity chart in the 2018 Fresh Trends, an annual survey of produce consumer preferences, published by The Packer, a produce industry magazine. Granny Smith took the top spot with 16 percent of the vote, followed by Honeycrisp with 15 percent. Red Delicious had 14 percent.
The Fresh Trends results were published in April based on surveys taken in November of last year. In the previous report published in 2017, Red Delicious was first with 15 percent.
Then, the iconic apple variety lost its spot as Washington’s No. 1 apple by volume when the state’s growers released their crop forecast earlier this month. If the numbers hold, Gala will hold that title this year for the first time in decades.
It’s no surprise really. Red Delicious, once the workhorse of the U.S. apple industry, has been on the decline for years as growers replace it with new varieties that store better and sell better. Evidently, the market statistics are finally catching up.
Ross Courtney is an associate editor for Good Fruit Grower, writing articles and taking photos for the print magazine and website. He has a degree from Pacific Lutheran University. -- Follow the author -- Contact: 509-930-8798 or email.