Amidst a stream of new apple varieties hitting the global market in a bid to replace flagging cultivars, will Dazzle live up to its name?
Fruitcraft, a marketing collaboration between three of New Zealand’s largest growers, Mr Apple, Bostock New Zealand and Freshmax, appears to believe it will.
In a release, the group claimed the Dazzle-branded apple – developed by the country’s Plant & Food Research and known scientifically as PremA129 – was expected to be one of the biggest apple variety launches since Royal Gala decades ago.
Plant & Food Research also developed the premium apple varieties Jazz and Envy, which are both marketed by T&G Global subsidiary Enza.
The launch of Dazzle also comes on the heels of a golden variety brand launch for Yello at industry event Interpoma last month, and exponential growth forecasts for other relatively new cultivars like Cosmic Crisp and Pazazz, just to name a few.
“Dazzle is targeted towards the growing Asian markets. It has all the qualities which appeal to Asian consumers. It is a big, highly coloured and very sweet apple,” said Fruitcraft manager Steve Potbury.
“We want to work with all growers to ensure they can grow and market it through their preferred exporter. This is a collaborative approach, which gives growers the chance to be involved from the orchards to the markets.”
Over 100,000 trees are already being grown by growers in New Zealand including Mr Apple, Bostock New Zealand and Freshmax, and nurseries are busy preparing rootstocks to meet grower demand for orders in 2017.
Further production around the world is planned, and Fruitcraft will be looking to license growers and marketers in the main apple growing countries in the next year or two.
“We are confident of the success of this new apple given New Zealand’s largest growers are already committed to producing Dazzle, and we are starting to field positive inquiries from New Zealand and across the world,” Potbury said.
Prevar commercial manager Snow Hardy says this is a significant development for Prevar and the pipfruit industry around the world.
“There has been huge input into the Plant & Food Research breeding programme over the years and it’s now very exciting to roll out such a fantastic new variety to growers and exporters here in New Zealand and internationally. We are encouraging growers to get in behind this new apple variety and support this programme,” Hardy said.
The pipfruit development company Prevar is owned by Australian and New Zealand pipfruit growers and PFR and supported by MBIE and HIAL. Australian growers will have a similar opportunity to be involved with the Dazzle programme once the variety has been tested and proven in Australia.
Plant & Food Research scientist Richard Volz said Dazzle was bred conventionally, through cross breeding between “Sweetie” and “Scired” by plant breeders at Havelock North in 1997.
“The parents and grandparents of the PremA129 variety all come from New Zealand,” Volz said.
“This has taken decades of work and investment by scientists at Plant and Food Research and the New Zealand pipfruit industry to develop a truly New Zealand apple with strong kiwi heritage.”
Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard said this was another reflection of the sophistication and strength of an industry where growers, exporters and breeders were all working together to deliver high quality products to customers both in New Zealand and around the world.
“The opportunities for New Zealand growers and industry businesses with the release of this exciting new apple variety builds on our confidence and excitement as we approach our billion-dollar export target,” Pollard said.
“We have evolved into a fully integrated industry that is forging ahead with sustainable growth, innovation, leadership and strategic vision.”