Columbia Marketing International reports a strong start to its Ambrosia apple season.

In October, while most apple volumes were flat, Ambrosia volumes increased by 74%, according to a news release from Wenatchee, Wash.-based Columbia Marketing.

And while retail prices for apples in general have fallen this season due to large volumes, Ambrosia markets have remained strong, Steve Lutz, Columbia Marketing’s vice president of marketing, said in the release.

“The average non-promoted price for apples over the last four weeks in U.S. supermarkets was $1.55 per pound,” Lutz said in the Dec. 9 release. “The average non-promoted price for Ambrosia was over $2 per pound. It’s pretty easy to see why retailers win when they offer higher-priced branded variety apples as a vital part of the category in addition to lower priced conventional varieties.”

Lutz also cited new Nielsen Perishables Group data which showed that consumers are responsive to retail price promotions on new apple varieties like Ambrosia.

On average, he said, the dollar lift on a promotion was 37% for the apple category as a whole. But for Ambrosias and other new varieties, it was much higher.

“The data shows that the average Ambrosia promotion drove a dollar lift of over 75%,” Lutz said. “That’s more than double the average lift for the total apple category, and it shows the important role that retail promotions play in introducing these new apple flavors to consumers.”