Dec 12, 2017 - The New Zealand citrus industry’s ongoing commitment to working with Delytics Ltd to increase fruit quality has resulted in the majority of their navel oranges being liked by consumers in 2017, despite a challenging growing season.
Supermarket monitoring showed approximately 85% (6 out of 7) of all New Zealand navel oranges met the New Zealand Citrus Growers’ Inc (NZCGI) minimum maturity standard in 2017, compared to 67% in 2015 before new processes were implemented. This year’s average weekly acceptability ranged from 78% to 95%, and stayed above 90% for three out of nine sampling weeks.
New Zealand’s navel orange growers actively contributed to this positive result by taking part in the voluntary clearance programme that was adopted by NZCGI at the start of 2016. Delytics Ltd developed the clearance process and has carried out NZCGI’s orchard monitoring programme for the past two seasons.
This season, Navel orange orchards in Northland and Gisborne were monitored from early February until late September to measure changes in fruit quality and predict when fruit would meet NZCGI’s minimum maturity standard.
Up until May 2017, BrimA measurement data and maturity models produced by Delytics suggested an earlier start to the season than in 2016. However, the BrimA data showed a significant maturity slowdown in May and alerted the industry to a later harvest date, which ended up being almost 4.5 weeks later than 2016. This sudden maturity slowdown is thought to have been caused by unseasonal weather, which saw drought conditions in the summer followed by more than twice the average rainfall from February through to May.
Delytics Managing Director Mark Loeffen says, “The monitoring was critical to understanding how internal fruit maturity changed during a season of challenging weather conditions. One of the keys to the ongoing success of this monitoring programme and predicting maturity dates is the industry regularly watching this information to inform harvest decisions in combination with their own on-orchard maturity testing.”
“The results show that growers of New Zealand navels have now become suppliers of consistently great tasting fruit and that’s great news for the New Zealand citrus industry.”
Nov 29, 2017 - KORU® is a new apple variety which has been grown in New Zealand for a few years now and exported to the US market. Now it is also being grown in the States and the area will increase considerably in years to come writes Nichola Watson for FreshPlaza.
"We import this apple in February and March," explains Jim Allen from New York Apple Sales. "Now we are growing it in the States too. It is an excellent eating apple, a cross between the Braeburn and Fuji apples. The Fuji gives it that high flavour and sugars and the low acid Braeburn combines them together."
Jim was at the Amsterdam Produce Show promoting the KORU® apple as it is also sold in Europe. "We are planting heavily in the US and have already harvested the New York and Washington state crops. We are in a group of three different marketers who have the right to market the apple for a grower's cooperative group who have the right to grow it. This year we harvested between 700 and 800 bins in New York and 1,500 bins in Washington state. Volumes will be increasing threefold each year in the States, just as they are in New Zealand."
The current New Zealand production is around 160,000, by 2020 they are looking at 300,000. It is a good yielding variety and a good sized apple which colours very nicely.
"We have been importing it now for 3-4 years," said Jim. "This is our second year of domestic production and KORU® is in the major retailers such as Walmart, Cosco and others. It is a hard apple which holds up very well and we are very excited about it. We think it is one of the best new apples around."
US production starts in October and runs through to January, then in February and March apples are imported from New Zealand. "What we have done this year is put some of our domestic crop in storage, we expect to bring those out a month before the new season starts. New Zealand stocks will last until August - September making an almost year round supply. This is the first year that we have put a lot in CA storage, but we have a lot of confidence that the quality will still be very good, the characteristics of the apple already point to a great storage apple."
Nov 24, 2017 - The investment group will grow the niche export apple brand Rockit, which is a mini-apple under licence by Rockit Global. One of the Rockit Global's challenges has been growing enough apples to meet global demand despite production lifting 40 per cent on last year. In spite of higher numbers, the crop sold out several months earlier than last year and delivered a price increase to growers.
The miniature snack apples, sold in a plastic tube, are grown under license in nine countries and sold in airports, sports stadiums, and in cafes in 29 countries.
MyFarm chief executive, Andrew Watters said it had worked closely with Rockit Global to create a one-off opportunity for New Zealanders to share in its apple success story.
He said Rākete Orchards Limited Partnership would lease and fund the planting of 55 hectares across four orchard blocks in the Heretaunga Plains of Hawke's Bay. This would be the only new planting of Rockit apple trees in New Zealand next year.
Rockit Global would provide the Rockit apple trees, orchard management services, packing and storing and markets and sell the apples offshore.
The Rākete Orchards lease model, with a term of 18 years plus two rights of renewal of five years each, suited the production of the trade marked apple which had a further 22 years to run under its plant variety rights, Watters said.
MyFarm is forecasting that the partnership would generate a higher return than the "darling" of New Zealand horticulture, Gold3 Kiwifruit.
Watters said investors were forecasted to receive the value of their original investment back within seven years.
"It's a stunning product and an outstanding, unusual investment opportunity. Rockit has cleverly marketed its niche as a sweet crisp, small apple perfect for snacking and then carefully controlled its licensing and supply."
Applications for the partnership offer for 1300 parcels of $10,000 closes on December 15.
Watters said investors had previously responded swiftly to opportunities to access returns from the pip fruit industry.
"MyFarm's $3.6 million capital raise to purchase a Hawkes Bay apple orchard in July was fully subscribed within one week of issue."
The company is a specialist syndication business providing land-based investment opportunities in dairy farms, sheep and beef farms, the horticulture sector and rural commercial property. It has more than $500 million of rural assets under management.
17 Nov 2017 - Dealing with irregular bearing is a problem the New Zealand avocado industry needs to solve, according to AVOCO the nation's largest marketing company for the fruit. Martin Napper, Export Marketing Executive at Primor Produce, part of the AVOCO venture which owns the AVANZA brand, says at a time when consumption and demand is increasing strongly, the market still provides some inconsistency.
"At the moment it seems that we spend one year building markets and the next apologising for short supply," Mr Napper said. "A very frustrating situation especially when demand is so strong in all of our markets and many other markets AVANZA is yet to enter, such as Taiwan and China. With larger crops expected over time a lot of research is being directed toward this (irregular bearing)."
AVOCO is a joint venture marketing company between Primor Produce Ltd and Southern Produce Ltd. AVANZA is a brand of AVOCO used in markets outside of Australia, which is the major export market at around 80 per cent. It also supplies to Asian markets including Korea (7%), Japan (5%), Singapore (3%), as well as small volumes to Thailand, Malaysia, and India.
Mr Napper says AVOCO volumes are half that of last year, but values are up around 30 per cent. Some reasons behind this is the lower than predicted volume from within Australia has seen the Australian market a lot firmer than expected for this time of the year, with current values usually seen in January and February when Australian volumes are at their lowest. He anticipates prices staying firm with retail prices currently at AU$3.90/piece which challenges consumption.
The Export Marketing Executive adds there are plenty of positives, with higher returns and optimism in the category has seen about 1,000 hectares of new plantings over the past year, meaning there is currently a three year waiting list for trees. In addition, early forecasts are encouraging for a bigger crop in 2018 as well as China market access is close with protocols ready to be signed-off soon. This access could in time open up a big opportunity for New Zealand.
"The country's avocado industry is a very cohesive industry able to adapt quickly to customer export requirements, such as nil detectable chemical MRL’s in Korea and new China protocols," Mr Napper said. "With a quality offering it is well placed to take up future opportunities for growth. Avocado continues to defy gravity with its popularity and social media interest."
AVOCO/AVANZA’s share of New Zealand industry is around 64 per cent, and the company is also reporting that industry export volumes are around half of last year; 2.5million (5.5kg) trays compared with 4.8m last year. But he sees plenty of future opportunity in the medium to long term for expansion in the company's major market, to meet the rapidly growing demand across the Tasman.
"There is still some industry uncertainty as to final crop volume," Mr Napper said. "In Australia we are flowing fruit to fit programmes through to late February. Australian consumption just keeps on increasing and it is predicted that with an increase in per head consumption from 3.5kg to 5kg coupled with increasing population growth they will move from the current 16 million trays to 24 million over the next 8-10 years. With seasonality of supply, a proportion of this demand will need to be supplied from New Zealand."
Korea has also shown rapid growth from 250,000 trays three years ago to 500,000 last year and now fast approaching 1 million trays this year from all origins and at good value, including New Zealand, California and Mexico. Mr Napper says Korea is a good market for AVANZA as it prefers large size fruit, which suits New Zealand’s crop profile.
15 Nov 2017 - IrrigationNZ says that the petition presented by Greenpeace at Parliament yesterday misrepresents how irrigation has been funded and used and ignores the wide range of benefits to New Zealand from irrigation, as well as the efforts being made to address environmental issues.
“Greenpeace has presented a petition seeking to stop government funding of irrigation schemes. The petition is misleading as the majority of money provided to irrigation schemes by Crown Irrigation Investments has been in the form of loans which have to be paid back with interest,” says Andrew Curtis IrrigationNZ Chief Executive.
“The loan funding supports new irrigation schemes but also supports work to modernise existing irrigation schemes so they can use water more efficiently, something many people would support if they knew about it.”
Mr Curtis says the petition’s focus on irrigation being used by dairy farms does not fairly represent how irrigation is used in New Zealand. Over half of New Zealand’s irrigated land is not used for dairy farming but to grow crops, for sheep and pasture grazing, and for fruit, vegetable and wine production. Most dairy farms in New Zealand do not use irrigation.
“Modern irrigation schemes can also have a range of environmental benefits,” says Mr Curtis.
Trials by the Foundation for Arable Research have found that arable farms with irrigation leached less nitrogen than the equivalent dryland farms. On irrigated farms nutrients can be targeted to provide reliable plant growth which is not limited by soil moisture. Enhanced plant growth allows more nutrients to be used by plants, reducing the risk of leaching. Irrigation also promotes consistent ground cover (either crops or pasture) through the summer growing season, which reduces the risk of wind erosion of soil and surface sediment runoff. Sediment is a significant contaminant in waterways.
Irrigation schemes can be designed to protect river health – for example water from the Opuha Dam is used to supplement river flows to keep the river flowing during drought years and is released to mimic ‘natural freshes’ that flush-out algal growth in the Opuha River.
“The recent report on domestic vegetable production by HortNZ highlights that New Zealand needs to focus on ensuring there is a secure food supply for the future. Irrigation helps us feed our growing population, keeps food more affordable and allows a wider variety of local food to be grown throughout the year,” Mr Curtis adds.
“Irrigation will become even more important in the future to help reduce food shortages or price spikes due to droughts occurring more often as a result of climate change.”
Many irrigation schemes supply multi-purpose infrastructure with Oamaru, Timaru and Kerikeri all sourcing their town drinking water supply from irrigation infrastructure.
“Irrigation is vitally important to New Zealand’s economy and it contributed an estimated $5.4 billion to NZ’s GDP in 2016-17. For every 1,000 hectares of irrigation added, several New Zealand studies have found at least 50 new jobs are created. For high value horticulture, this increases to over 500 new jobs,” Mr Curtis says.
“New Zealand is a world leader in efficient, safe food production and irrigation plays an important role in this as well as in creating prosperous communities. Farmers and growers are now taking a wide range of actions on farms like fencing off waterways, riparian planting and developing farm environment plans which are already resulting in improvements to rivers,” says Mr Curtis.
Notes on sources:
(1) For information on trials by the Foundation for Arable Research see Irrigation is good for the environment
(2) Information on the Opuha Dam is online
(3) For HortNZ’s report see New Zealand vegetable production: the growing story
(4) For details of the economic contribution of irrigation to GDP, how irrigated land in New Zealand is used refer to IrrigationNZ’s website
(5) For studies on the link between irrigation and job creation see the Socio-Economic Value of Irrigation
(6) For Canterbury rainfall data see Land, Air and Water NZ
14 Nov 2017 - The mother of all produce sanitisation machines has arrived in Australia, fresh off the ship from Germany, as the country takes its food safety technology to the next level. Dubbed ‘The Food Safety Supercharger’, the custom-made 250-kilogram test-unit creates a stream of ‘supercharged air’ by applying an electric current to normal air. Using this disruptive technology, it has the capacity to kill microbial pathogens on the surface of fresh produce and nuts, without leaving any chemical residues.
Housed at a NSW Department of Primary Industries laboratory, this world-first machine aims to eliminate microbial contaminants such as Salmonella, Listeria and E.coli which cause foodborne illness outbreaks. Other spoilage-causing moulds can also be suppressed, offering a longer shelf-life and reduced food waste.
Hort Innovation fund manager Tim Archibald said the technology – which is part of a $5M jointly-funded project with the NSW Department of Primary Industries – has never been commercially used on food.
“The Food Safety Supercharger is here, and Australia is on track to introduce some of the most sophisticated sanitation technology in the world,” Mr Archibald said. “While there are good post-harvest practices already in place in Australia, when isolated contamination incidents occur, farmers are devastated.”
“This supercharged air technology has the exciting potential to limit product recalls, minimise trade disruptions and ensure consumers are confident about the produce they are buying. It also offers an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional food sanitisers.”
Lead researcher, Dr Sukhvinder Pal Singh, explained that supercharged air is plasma, which is the fourth state of matter after solid, liquid and gas.
“Natural plasma in the universe, such as the sun’s surface, has a temperature of thousands of degrees Celsius, while human-made, non-thermal plasma is only 30 to 40 degrees. That is why the technology can also be referred to as ‘cold plasma’,” he said.
Dr Singh presented the bold idea of applying cold plasma technology to fresh produce and nuts to Hort Innovation about a year ago.
“It was a transformative idea that presented a high reward for the horticulture industry if it worked,” he said. “Non-food sectors such as automotive, aerospace, textile, polymer, electronics and biomedical were already using the technology – particularly overseas, but it had never been applied to fresh produce.
“Once support was secured from Hort Innovation, which encourages disruptive technology, our team was able to start the research with the first-generation plasma unit. We then engaged a world-leading machine manufacturer in Germany to create a custom unit.”
Dr Singh said through their early testing, his team has determined that it is possible to kill bacteria and moulds in a short treatment time but there is a still a lot of research to come. He said now the latest generation of the machine is in the lab, the efficiency at which researchers can decontaminate produce is significantly higher than with their previous test unit, which was one-fifth the size.
He said after determining which fruit, vegetables and nuts are responsive to the treatment, the research team needs to ensure the killing of microbial pathogens does not compromise the quality and nutritional value of food.
“Ultimately, we would like to see this technology work and provide a pathway to commercialisation and for growers and packers to adopt it. Time will tell, but the early signs of this research are certainly promising.”
The research is due for completion in 2021. See a video of the technology in action.
| A Hort Innovation release || November 14, 2017 |||
9 Nov 2017 - In 2015 Zespri’s technical team and Everfresh NZ, represented by Ernst Slabbekoorn (EMS NZ and AUS representative), identified a clear need for a rugged and very reliable analyser to monitor ethylene in the post-harvest and transport of kiwifruit.
EMS has had significant experience in developing in house high end analysis equipment for the fresh produce and flower industries. Jan-Kees Boerman from EMS was convinced that the analysers designed could perform under extreme conditions and able to measure very low concentrations (parts per billion, ppb-range) required to store kiwifruit.
Zespri as a leading marketer of kiwifruit chose to put the EMS analysers to the ultimate test and at the same time conduct a thorough test in an independent lab. For the test in the field a number of analysers were placed on board different vessels to monitor ethylene levels and ethylene production and the additionally these analyzers were fitted with O2 and CO2 to monitor respiration.
Zespri Technical Manager, Frank Bollen, with more than 20 years of experience with ethylene measurements, mentioned the outcome of the reports and the results of the field test "a fantastic job" referring to the level of detection of EMS ethylene analysers.
Both tests have had outstanding results and Zespri is now in the process of investigating how to integrate the analysis equipment in their supply chain. This commitment has led to an ongoing relationship between 2 companies which are operating at the highest level.
The EMS MACView® can be used everywhere to keep track of the valuable product throughout the supply chain wherever location. EMS analyzers can be used for cool store, reefer and warehouse monitoring even in the middle of the ocean. Data is synchronized to a web portal which is enables global access to all data.
Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) believes there is an opportunity for new economic investment projects such as a $1 billion per annum Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund, following the change in government.
Elections were held last month, with the National Party replaced by a coalition between Labour, NZ First and the Green party - to be led by Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister. HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman admits while it is still early days and there is not a lot of detail around changes to policy and law yet, he says there are some opportunities surrounding regional development Matthew Russell writes in FreshPlaza.
"We have made it very clear that we want to work with the Government and be consulted as policy and law changes that affect horticulture growers are developed - and so far, there is every indication this will happen," Mr Chapman said. "A change in Government after nine years, and particularly the make-up of the new Government as an agreement between three separate and quite different parties led by the Labour Party, will undoubtedly have impacts on horticulture. We are aware that growers have concerns about some of the policies that the new Government has posed. It is our job to give voice to those concerns through the policy and law making processes as we represent growers in Wellington. We will continue to do this and have established some good connections with key Ministers."
One of the big changes to be announced so far by the new government is the scrapping of the Primary Industries portfolio, to be separated into Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture. HortNZ says while exact details on how this will work are yet to emerge, the decision could have some positives and negatives.
"We welcome increased focus on the portfolios that cover horticulture, particularly biosecurity and food safety," Mr Chapman said. "We do have some concerns about some of the pan-industry funds continuing as the Primary Growth Partnership and Sustainable Farming Fund are vital to science and innovation being developed to keep New Zealand horticulture up with the rest of the world, and preferably ahead at the cutting edge. We would want to see some capacity in policy and law development to be inclusive of all the primary industries, which has been the advantage of the Ministry for Primary Industries."
He added he also has some concerns over Select Committee Inquiries (the coalition agreement has one into Biosecurity), as well as dismantling and rebuilding government departments has the potential to reduce productivity and slow down progress. One piece of legislation he does not want delayed is the Green Party's Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill 2016 which went through its first reading and was passed through to Select Committee prior to the election. The Select Committee is due to report back, which means it soon could be passed into law.
Another change Prime Minister Ardern made was to the Trade portfolio, which was expanded to include Export Growth, and HortNZ says retaining the current market access, while opening up new markets is critical to trade.
"We would want to see a continuation of free trade agreements, tariff reductions and the elimination of non-tariff barriers," Mr Chapman said. "Horticulture has a number of crops trying for access to the important Chinese market and we are certainly prepared to follow an “aspirational” path and work with the Government on export growth in our sector. (But) We have some concerns around restriction of foreign investment and the impact that might have on driving research and development and innovation."
Mr Chapman is pleased to see that the water tax appears to be off the table, but is mindful that improving fresh water quality is going to be a strong focus and it is likely that action in this area will begin within the first 100 days when there is impetus for the new Government to shape up on its election promises. While he says plans to increase the minimum wage over the next three years have all sorts of implications, including the consequence that all other wages will have to go up accordingly, creating a concern for small and medium sized businesses.
HortNZ has also been ramping up its ongoing calls for a national food security policy for the country, following mooted plans by Infrastructure New Zealand to grow a satellite city in Pukekohe housing 500,000 people. Mr Chapman last week took to several national television programmes, and other media platforms to advocate for the sector and wants the government to take action.
"We have indicated to the new (Agriculture) Minister Damien O’Connor that this is something we want to see progress under the new government," Mr Chapman said. "The basis of this policy is to ensure an ongoing supply of New Zealand grown fresh fruit and vegetables for New Zealanders to eat. With rapid urban development in many parts of New Zealand, we are concerned local interests will surpass the interests of a national food supply, with prime growing land being lost to housing and infrastructure. There needs to be a wider national interest view over the top of all the local government decision-making."
1 Nov: Pests and diseases from offshore can cause serious harm to New Zealand's unique environment and primary industries; and the Port of Tauranga is one of many potential gateways. Biosecurity week activities highlight the importance of biosecurity and the role that everyone in the Bay of Plenty can play in managing unwanted biosecurity risks Kiwifruit Vine Health Chief Executive Barry O’Neil told FreshPlaza .
“We’re looking forward to talking to people who work on and around the Port about biosecurity – it’s such an important issue and one that really does affect everyone.”
“People who own and work at local businesses remember what Psa has done to the kiwifruit industry. There are bugs and pests that we don’t want here in New Zealand because of the devastating effect they will have not only on kiwifruit, but on the whole of our horticulture industry and environment.”
“A good example is a particular type of bug we’re concerned about – it’s one of our most unwanted and called the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. It’s a major nuisance that attacks fruit when it feeds and ruins it. It infests homes and in the USA we’ve seen it stop people from being able to sit outside their homes and have a simple BBQ”.
Port staff, transitional facilities, associated industries (such as transporters and other logistical operators), and biosecurity experts will be meeting at several events over the next six days to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of managing biosecurity risk.
Special guest Ruud 'The Bug Man' Kleinpaste will also be attending several industry and community school group presentations during the week to discuss the vital role of everyone who works and lives in and around the Port and local community in keeping unwanted pests and diseases out of New Zealand.
Throughout the week there will also be discussions with post-harvest facilities and transitional facilities to learn more about the frontline biosecurity systems they have in place. Biosecurity Week is part of the biosecurity excellence partnership between Port of Tauranga, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Kiwifruit Vine Health, NZ Avocado, Dairy NZ, Forestry Owners Association, NZ Customs and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Mark Cairns said the week provides a good opportunity to strengthen the significance of biosecurity within the Port community.
“Effective biosecurity awareness is critical to us running a successful business and being able to continue to service the Bay of Plenty region. The various events we’re holding for our staff, contractors and local businesses who regularly interact with us and our facilities will give us the chance to show people what they should be looking out for and what to do if they find anything.”
“It’s an opportunity to demonstrate the good work that happens here at the Port, day in day out, to keep an eye out.”
“Our people are at the frontline – they’re the ones most likely to first notice an unwanted pest on cargo, vehicles or equipment moving off the port. By knowing what to look for and reporting unfamiliar insects or suspicious looking pests they help protect everyone’s livelihood and the future of the kiwifruit, avocado and forestry sectors.”
This year has seen a lot of significant changes for Rockit apples: new private equity investors, new board members and a new CEO writes Nicola Watson for FreshPlaza
"It has been quite a watershed year for us," explains new CEO, Austin Mortimer. "It was time for changes within the company, the board and the founder of Rockit had different views as to the direction that the company should go in. It was determined that one side would buy out the other. The shareholder group raised the funds by introducing private equity to buy out the founder."
Rockit has always been promoted as an innovative snack product, and is not to be confused with a commodity apple.
"We want to define our position in the market place more clearly. We see other channels available to us other than mass retail or grocery. Small convenience stores, for example, and the "grab'n go" section of small retailers where the shelf space is more and more being given to healthy snacks. We see our two or three count tubes sitting nicely in that space alongside the hard boiled eggs and muesli bars. The tube supports the idea of it being ready to eat and of course, being an apple, it is healthy."
Austin says that most of the sales just now are made with 3,4 and 5 count tubes, but they are trialling a two piece for vending machines and a one piece for airline and hotel services. He believes the packaging on the small apple will assure people that the apple is clean and fresh.
"Rockit is currently grown in 9 countries and we are considering whether to plant in South Africa and Chile," said Austin. "You need to look at which markets you would serve with the production in there. Apples are mainly grown for export in those countries, Chile exports to the US and South Africa to Europe and since we already have production in both there is not a big need to grow in Chile or South Africa, although Africa is a fast growing market."
80% of Rockit apples grown are within the standard size, there are a number of diameters which cater to the majority of a standard Rockit tree.
"The taste profile is also important and while there are differences between different growing regions, these are not insurmountable," according to Austin. "Most of the Rockit apples are grown for their domestic markets so consumers get a stable taste profile. It is different in markets in Asia, where we need to have several sources to get a year round supply, we hope that with strict quality control we can keep the taste as stable as possible."
In Europe and North America the number of licences issued to grow Rockit apples are for a certain number of trees and the licensees are close to the limit of what they can plant. In New Zealand it is different, according to Austin, the new private equity investors are quite bullish about the opportunity and it is his intention to plant quite a bit more trees.
"It is significant for New Zealand that private equity have bought into it a traditional business, particularly one which is considered high risk in terms of horticulture. They see that we are building a global brand its not just about selling apples. They obviously see a lot of potential, it just goes to show that you can add value to what was a commodity."
"We have no reason to doubt the market for the Rockit apple, we have sold out every year. In 2017 we sold out 10 weeks earlier than ever before, with 40% increase in volume."
The Rockit apple is on the shelves in around 29 different countries, and the next target market is Japan where they hope to start sending apples in 2018.
Austin reckons that the reason the Rockit apple is popular on the Asian market is because it is very sweet and people are happy to eat a smaller apple.
"The feedback we have had from our research in Japan, where you get some very big apples, and demographics tell us there are a big percentage of people who live on their own and also a lot of older people. These people do not want a big apple which they can't finish and just end up leaving most of it. Also our experience from the countries which we are already selling in, is that because it is red and very sweet and crunchy, size doesn't matter, in fact they're more accepting of the smaller apples."