In­ter­na­tional award for Rockit ap­ple

The Orchardist - - Contents -

Have­lock North Fruit Company man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Phil Ali­son was in Taipei to at­tend the Aus­tralian and New Zealand Cham­ber of Com­merce (ANZCham) Business Ex­cel­lence Awards.

“This is a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment for us, as we con­tinue to grow our global mar­kets. We con­tinue to fo­cus on in­no­va­tion and se­cur­ing new mar­kets,” Mr Ali­son said.

The awards recog­nise Aus­tralian, New Zealand and Tai­wanese com­pa­nies that have made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the bi­lat­eral business re­la­tion­ships among the three coun­tries.

“We're thrilled to gain recog­ni­tion for de­vel­op­ing strong in­ter­na­tional re­la­tion­ships and we're par­tic­u­larly proud of the part­ner­ship with Tai­wan,” he said.

“Our re­sults in the Tai­wanese mar­ket demon­strate that the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion, mar­ket strat­egy and mar­ket de­vel­op­ment are fol­low­ing best prac­tices and try­ing to meet and keep up with the de­mands.”

Last year 2000 car­tons and this has in­creased to 15,000 car­tons in 2014.

The Rockit™ ap­ple is a minia­ture ap­ple – slightly big­ger than a golf ball, which was cre­ated in Hawke's Bay. It is uniquely mar­keted in a branded clear plas­tic tube aimed at the high­end con­ve­nience food mar­ket.

The pack­ag­ing helps Rockit stand out on su­per­mar­ket shelves and is now be­ing sold do­mes­ti­cally and in the US, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Tai­wan and the UK, with more in­ter­na­tional mar­kets be­ing opened up as new pro­duc­tion comes on stream.

The fruit's char­ac­ter­is­tics are sweet, crunchy and dis­tinctly fresh and fea­tures a block red in­tense blush colour. It is de­signed to of­fer a healthy snack al­ter­na­tive for chil­dren and adults. Sold in an in­no­va­tive con­sumer pack Rockit is mar­keted in a range of “ready to go” pack sizes.

In 2010 the company won the 2010 KPMG Food En­ter­prise In­no­va­tion Award and was one of the three fi­nal­ists for the over­all Supreme New Zealand Food Award. Mr Ali­son said the on­go­ing award suc­cess was fur­ther con­fir­ma­tion that the Rockit™ ap­ples had found a place in the mar­ket as a truly nat­u­ral, and healthy snack food with wide-reach­ing ap­peal.

Have­lock North Fruit Company worked with Plant and Food Re­search to­gether with Hawke's Bay company Pre­var, which aims to de­velop new ap­ple and pear va­ri­eties to de­velop the unique ap­ple.

The ap­ples are not ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied but the re­sult of cross-breed­ing be­tween se­lected va­ri­eties.

“We're grow­ing the ap­ple to big­ger pro­duc­tion lev­els over the past few years.

Rockit™ trees take about three years to pro­duce fruit ready for the mar­ket. A to­tal of 79 hectares are un­der cul­ti­va­tion with a fur­ther 55ha planned.

“It is an easy ap­ple to grow, there's noth­ing dif­fer­ent about the way we are grow­ing it com­pared to other va­ri­eties.”

A sig­nif­i­cant ex­pan­sion plan is soon to be an­nounced.

The Rockit™ ap­ple has scored an in­ter­na­tional award, tak­ing out the New Zealand-Tai­wan Business Ex­cel­lence Award in Taipei last night. “This is a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment for us, as we con­tinue to grow our global mar­kets. We con­tinue to fo­cus on in­no­va­tion and se­cur­ing new mar­kets.”

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