NZ: Freshmax announces exclusive strawberry IP licensing deal
Leading produce company Freshmax has announced an exclusive strawberry IP licensing deal with Italy's Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti (CIV) to grow new varieties in New Zealand.
The arrangement will see Freshmax and its growers given access to import, trial, commercialize and market a portfolio of cultivars from the renowned European research and breeding program.
The suite includes the proprietary Flavia and Flaminia varieties.
Freshmax Group said the deal was part of its commitment to "evolving the New Zealand berryfruit space, delivering greater long-range values to its growers, both in domestic and export markets, and providing a better experience for consumers."
The group expects the varieties to be available to Freshmax’s New Zealand retail customers and global markets via Valley Fresh.
"This is an exciting opportunity and another step for us in a rapidly shifting category“, Freshmax general manager of IP and marketing Simon Gillett.
“Flavia and Flaminia are performing well in Europe and we’re looking forward to evaluating their impact in New Zealand. There is significant potential in this market and as a group we’re keenly focused on growing the berryfruit space," he said.
The company said that despite a favourable climate, New Zealand’s berryfruit sector remained "fragmented and under-developed with a highly seasonal consumer offering."
“With investment in better varieties and superior production technologies Freshmax sees that New Zealand’s berry offering is set to become more stable with rising export opportunities to Australia and Asia,” Freshmax NZ's new variety manager Rene Hylkema said.
The two primary cultivars – Flavia and Flaminia – are characterized by early maturity, intense sweetness with low acidity and long shelf life, according to Freshmax.
They are also described as highly resistant to powdery mildew and leaf and root diseases in general. They are also suitable for tired soils. CIV has been actively breeding since 1984 and has focused its research on four key lines: low chill, high chill, everbearers and varieties suitable for industrial processing.
The Freshmax Group is an Australasian-based fresh produce marketer and distributor with primary offices in Australia and New Zealand and operations around the Pacific Rim run by international arm Valley Fresh.
The Group has a growing presence in the New Zealand berryfruit sector managing retail programs via Freshmax’s domestic operations and export programs through Valley Fresh NZ.
Furthermore BerryCo, a Valley Fresh joint venture, has exclusive rights to a suite of highly regarded MBO blueberry IP which includes Eureka.
In March Fresh Fruit Portal reported the joint venture was set to being planting dozens of hectares of the Eureka blueberries.