posted on September 01, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Denise Donohue
(DeWitt, Mich.) - A series of focus groups conducted in southeast and western Michigan have revealed shoppers statewide prefer Michigan Apples for their flavor superiority and locally-grown ties.
Michigan Apple Committee (MAC), a non-profit organization working on behalf of Michigan's Apple growers, conducted three focus group sessions between November 2008 and February 2009. MAC and the state's apple growers attended each session in hopes of better understanding household shoppers' wants when buying apples.
Topics of discussion included: what customers were looking for, apple packaging needs and wants, taste preferences, as well as suggestions for promotion of Michigan-grown apples.
Participants also took part in blind taste tests, which MAC Executive Director Denise Donohue said revealed some insightful and exciting information.
"From what we heard, it's clear that Midwest shoppers prefer the taste of Michigan Apples than those grown anywhere else," she said. "That's great news for our growers and the whole industry."
A couple of Michigan Apple varieties clearly stood out from the rest: Honeycrisp and Jonagold. In response, MAC has developed some new marketing efforts for the Honeycrisp, including some new packaging that will be available at select stores this starting fall.
Although it was consistently voiced by consumers that they want to buy Michigan Apples, there was one concern: the majority of participants said they have a hard time distinguishing Michigan-grown apples from others and want to more easily identify the produce in-store.
In general, focus group participants said they prefer Michigan Apples for their fresh and flavorful taste and a desire to support the local industry.
"Apples are Michigan's most valuable fruit crop and if we can get consumers on board with buying locally grown produce, we can help the economy immensely," Donohue said.
The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.