Sep 8, 2023
2023 crop estimate released for Northwest fresh pear industry
With harvest underway throughout the four growing regions, Pear Bureau Northwest (PBNW) has released the first estimate of the 2023-24 Washington and Oregon fresh pear crop.
The industry’s fresh pear estimate is 15.2 million standard box equivalents, which is on par with the four-year average.
The organic pear estimate is expected to come in at 1.9 million standard boxes equivalents, or 12.5% of the total projected Northwest crop, according to a news release from the Milwaukie, Oregon, PBNW.
Across all regions, harvest started in late-August for summer varieties including Starkrimson and Bartletts, with growers beginning to pick Bosc, green and red Anjosu 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 in an array of shapes and colors to enhance any produce department display.
“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, PBNW president and CEO, said in the release. “There will be a full range of sizes available, including large-sized fruit as well as smaller sizes to fill the popular pouch bags as well as sizes to fulfill export market demand.”
PBNW has been working to initiate new and effective promotions to get the season off to a good start. Retailers are engaged and optimistic about the pear season, according to the release.
“Our growers and shippers understand that consumers buy with their eyes but flavor is what brings them back for more,” Moffitt said in the release. “The industry is driven to provide 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.”
“As shoppers continue to adapt to shopping on digital platforms, PBNW has seen success in reaching consumers online as well as in-store. “We’ve been working closely with retailers to introduce new omni-channel programs to motivate purchase,” Bob Catinella, PBNW director of merchandising, said in the release.
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 2023-24 season will kick off with an updated social campaign by updating last season’s successful ‘Meet the Pear’ creative, while inspiring consumers with simple ways they can add fresh pears to their everyday dishes. PBNW will also continue to expand online shopping programs at retail with sponsored search, shoppable recipes and other shopper marketing promotions.
On export promotions, with shipping transit times returning closer to normal and container costs coming down, PBNW expects the industry to look to move more export volumes to key offshore export markets including Taiwan, UAE, Israel, Colombia and India than they did in the 2022-23 season, according to the release.
PBNW’s export team also continues to look for new 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.
“Improving shipping conditions should lead to a brighter export outlook for the NW pear industry this season,” Jeff Correa, international marketing director, said in the release. Mexico, Canada and Central America will be the key targeted markets. PBNW plans to increase advertising activities and consumer outreach events earlier in the season to get off to a strong start in those markets.