New Zealand-headquartered T&G Global has entered into a new agreement with Plant & Food Research to breed and commercialise blueberry varieties, while also announcing a tie up with one of the world’s largest berry growers.
The breeding programme has been structured to produce varieties with improved yields and disease resistance, while also delivering consumers larger, tastier berries over a longer period, thanks to an extended harvest window.
The first new commercial varieties could be launched globally within the next 12 months under T&G Global’s Orchard Rd brand.
“Blueberries are a key strategic play for us in building our global portfolio, and we’re delighted to build another global category to emulate the success of our premium apple brands. We know there is strong consumer demand for blueberries and teaming up with Plant & Food means we get access to a pipeline of world-class varieties,” said Gareth Edgecombe, CEO of T&G Global.
“Securing exclusive rights to the best varieties is the first step in our strategy to build multiple global verticals that drive and enable value and add demand through strong consumer brands,” he says.
The new partnership builds on an existing agreement that grants T&G Global access to a suite of Plant & Food Research-bred and licensed blueberry varieties for production in Australia.
“Plant & Food Research and T&G Global have a strong relationship that began at their legacy organisations in the 1990s,” said David Hughes, CEO of Plant & Food Research.
“T&G has an excellent track record of commercialising our varieties, most notably the apples branded Jazz and Envy. We are looking forward to continuing building on this history and delivering excellent blueberries for New Zealand and global consumers.”
In a further development, T&G Global has agreed to a joint venture with one of the world’s largest berry growers, CarSol Fruit Export, enabling the year-round supply and sale of high-quality berries.
CarSol, a blueberry multi-national based in the Netherlands, started its operation in Chile around 30 years. It has expanded its footprint in recent years and now grows blueberries in Peru and Portugal, utilising new genetics and modern growing methods.
The move is set to aid T&G Global’s desire to significantly increase sales of blueberries into key Asian markets in 2020 under the Orchard Rd label.
“We see this as the beginning of a long-term partnership that will give us the ability to source the highest quality supply of blueberries from their global grower base and, working together, build out Asia,” Edgecombe explained.
“With our combined strengths in growing, sales and marketing, we’re looking to ramp up the velocity with key customers in Asia, build the Orchard Rd to greater heights, to replicate the international success we have had with Jazz and Envy brands.”