WSU’s Cosmic Crisp Cracks The Top Ten
Congratulations to Washington State University’s Cosmic Crisp apple. For the first time, the new variety has moved into the top ten best-selling U.S. apple list.
According to information from Nielsen supermarket sales data by Proprietary Variety Management, the Yakima-based company contracted by WSU to commercialize the new variety, Cosmic Crip ranked #10 in volume and 8th in total sales value between September 1st and January 31st. About five million 40-pound boxes were harvested in 2022, a one-million box year-over-year increase. Production of the apple was up 28% this year, the largest harvest yet. And according to PVM, quality in storage has been outstanding.
From September through January of this year, sales volume of Cosmic Crisp rose 174%. The dollar value of these sales grew 163% from the past year, to $41 million. At retail, the national-average price per pound, $2.41, was just 10 cents lower than 2021–22.
“It’s important to realize that new-season Cosmic Crisp didn’t go on the market until December 1,” said Professor Kate Evans, head of WSU’s pome fruit breeding program. “We knew there would be rapid growth because of the number of trees that were planted and are now starting to produce their own fruit. What’s really promising is that prices have held steady even with the volume increase.”
Regionally, the apple ranked eighth in sales in the western U.S., tenth in the South, 11th in the Midwest, and 14th in the Northeast.
The top ten varieties included Gala, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Red Delicious, Pink Lady, McIntosh, Envy, and Ambrosia.
Cosmic Crisp is the brand name for the WA-38 apple variety, originally bred at WSU’s Wenatchee research station in 1997. WSU researchers evaluated WA-38 against other contenders for more than a decade before releasing it to growers in 2017. The apple first went on sale to consumers in December 2019. Cosmic Crisp is grown exclusively in Washington.
Since WSU owns the patent on the apple as well as the Cosmic Crisp trademark, a portion of the sale of each box to support scientific discovery at the university. Most of WSU’s apple breeding program, which develops new, improved varieties for Washington growers, is funded by WA-38 royalty distributions, which also support staff at research orchards. WSU scientists continue to study best practices for WA-38 horticulture, harvest, and storage.
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