As part of its new, five-year strategic plan, the Washington Apple Commission has proposed focusing its marketing efforts and spending for the next two to three years on Red Delicious and Gala apples in five key international markets: Mexico, India, China and Hong Kong, Vietnam and Indonesia.
“We clearly identified the markets where we saw value-plus,” WAC President Todd Fryhover told commission members in a meeting Wednesday.
Fryhover also proposed rolling back marketing spending to 2012 levels in several markets where retail sales have been deemed less advantageous to growers—Central America, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, Taiwan, the Middle East and Colombia and Peru—for a savings of about $700,000 in the 2016-17 crop year.
“In principle, for the next two to three years, we see that as no surprise that the focus will be Reds and Galas,” he said. “The more we can move to foreign markets, especially dispersed to some of our value-added markets, the better off the growers are going to be.”
Reds and Galas represent 30 percent of the Washington crop, but more than 65 percent of exports over the last five years.
Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the proposal at their May 25 board meeting, after which staff members will meet with marketing representatives in these markets to establish marketing plans before the next crop year.
Also Wednesday, Fryhover proposed the possibility of creating a unified Washington apples logo that includes the all of the corporate logos of apple marketing and sales houses to unify the industry’s presence at the point of sale. “It’s about alignment. It’s about efficiency. It’s about effectiveness. Having a Washington growers’ logo on exports really does help us. There’s no downside to this,” he said. “It’s just getting more and more confusing in the international marketplace, and it’s going to continue to do so over the next two to three years.”
Commissioners approved Fryhover pitching the idea of a unified marketing logo to the industry’s marketers for both domestic and foreign markets in the months ahead.