November 4th, 2010
Havelock North Fruit Co Ltd owner Phil Alison receiving the KPMG Enterprise Award at the NZ Food Awards
The Havelock North Fruit Company’s Rockit™ apples have soared to new heights winning the KPMG Food Enterprise Innovation Award at the recent New Zealand Food Awards held at the Langham Hotel in Auckland.
The Rockit™ apples are a tiny new variety, created in Hawke’s Bay and marketed as being “sweet, crunchy and “distinctively fresh”.
The fruit, which is slightly bigger than a golf ball, features a block red intense blush colour and is designed to offer a healthy snack alternative for children and adults.
The Havelock North Fruit Company won both the “Small or Emerging Enterprise Award” and scooped the overall segment award beating 46 other entrants. They were also one of the three finalists for the overall Supreme New Zealand Food Award.
The judging was overseen by representatives from KPMG, who said the Havelock North Fruit Company had “identified a market niche for the product and found strategic partners that align with that niche.”
“There is excellent ‘grower to consumer’ control of the product and appropriate intellectual property protection.”
The Havelock North Fruit Company was chosen as the segment winner by Paul Kippenberger of KPMG, who said the high quality of the entries made judging difficult.
“I was impressed with the quality of business strategy and pleased to acknowledge such a world class group of food producers,” Mr Kippenberger said. “This year’s entrants stood out as setting the standard of food production in New Zealand. The winners will be hailed for their food innovation and production excellence and be an inspiration to the wider industry in New Zealand and overseas.”
Havelock North Fruit Company Owner Phil Alison said the award 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.
“The time and money that has been spent on this project is just about beyond measure but this award makes it all worthwhile,” Mr Alison said.
Rockit™ apples have sold successfully in the domestic market and offshore markets have been established in the UK, USA and Asia.
For the past five years the Havelock North Fruit Company has been working with Plant and Food Research together with Hawke’s Bay company Prevar, which aims to develop new apple and pear varieties.
The apples were not genetically modified but the result of cross-breeding between selected varieties.
“We’ve started 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.
“It is an easy apple to grow, there’s nothing different about the way we are growing it compared to other varieties.”