High demand for small NZ apple variety - FreshFruitPortal.com

High demand for small NZ apple variety

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High demand for small NZ apple variety

New Zealand's apple industry might be struggling to compete internationally with a high currency, but a small locally-produced variety called 'Rockit' has taken off with both foreign importers and local consumers.

Havelock North Fruit Company owner Phil Alison has told website Stuff.co.nz foreign importers have been asking for more 'Rockit' apples, but he decided to keep some for local customers.

Alison said the apples were in their second season and demand was already outstripping supply, with expectations to sell the apple in plastic cylindrical containers in New World supermarkets in Hawke's Bay, Wellington and New Zealand, the story reported.

Stuff.co.nz reported the apple was nearly abandoned in the early days as it is just 1.5 times the size of a golf ball, but now that small size has been used to its advantage as a high-energy snack.

Plant and Food apple grower Richard Volz told the website the Rockit-growing program began in 1989.

"It has very good eating qualities and an attractive appearance, but in general we aim for larger-size fruit because the Asian and North American markets want larger fruit - But Phil recognised its potential," Volz was quoted as saying.

The story reported Rockit apples were currently exported to Taiwan, Britain, the United States and Canada.

"The returns have been sensational compared with any other variety," Alison was reported as saying.

"We are getting significantly higher returns, and I mean significantly.

"It's probably one of the few varieties, if not the only one, to have global appeal."

Photo: Rockit

Related story: Drastic cuts expected for NZ Braeburn apples


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