An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but shoppers don’t really seem to care.

Jaime Milan
October 17, 2018

When you think of popular fruits at the grocery store, apples probably top your list. Even though apples are healthy, delicious, and available year-round, their sales are down 6.7 percent in the last year—but why?

Turns out, there are a few reasons. First, apples are crazy expensive right now. According to a recent Nielsen sales report, “If a shopper’s variety of choice was the Honeycrisp apple, which is currently the most popular variety in the country and sells for an average of $2.85 per pound, the transaction could suddenly cost the shopper between $7-$8 for their apples.”

That’s not taking organic apples into account, which are typically about 40 percent higher in cost than traditional apples.

Another potential factor at play, according to the Nielsen data? Apple variety overload. The varieties of apples available at the grocery store—from Gala to Granny Smith to Pink Lady to Fuji—have increased by 11 percent. Though apple options give shoppers more taste profiles to choose from, it can be overwhelming and cause them to opt for other fruits instead.

Creative ways to use apples in your kitchen:

Oddly, the sales of fruits such as berries, cherries, and mandarin oranges are actually growing. Nielsen attributes this to their natural “snack size”. While we’re all about eating fresh fruit, we’re a tad partial to apples for their incredible health benefits. They’re chock-full of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer and in turn help you lose weight. In a 2009 study determining how fruit influences satiety, those who ate an apple before their meal ate 200 fewer calories than those who did not.

Research also suggests that apples may help lower bad levels of cholesterol. Polyphenols, antioxidant compounds found in apples, may help inhibit the oxidation of LDL, otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is what leads to plaque buildup in arteries. Apples, however, are an excellent source of soluble fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.

Sounds like there was actually something behind that “apple a day” rhyme. Apple sales may be declining, but we’re still loading up our grocery carts.