New Zealand’s first pears of the year are on the water, with North American arrivals of the ready-to-eat Honey Belle variety planned for the first week in March.
This small, sweet fruit heralds the beginning of the much-anticipated New Zealand pear season, which includes Bosc, Comice, Velvetine and the famed Taylor’s Gold, available spring and summer from The Oppenheimer Group.
“Honey Belle is a terrific little pear,” said David Nelley, executive director of Oppy’s apple, pear and cherry categories. “Green with an appealing red blush, it’s unique because of its crunchy texture and honey sweet flavour. Honey Belle delivers a sweet, juicy eating experience that kicks off our specialty pear season from New Zealand perfectly.
“It’s going to be a huge pear year for Oppy,” he continued. “We plan to sell greater volumes of Comice, Taylor’s Gold and Bosc than previous years, positioning us really well to build excitement around the pear category - a category that is sometimes overlooked.”
This is Oppy’s fourth year marketing Honey Belles, and they are new to many consumers as distribution to date has been primarily in Canada. Grown exclusively in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay region by Kiwi Crunch, Oppy markets Honey Belles in bulk as well as eye-catching 1kg punnets.
“The packaging is cutting edge, and our Canadian retailers have loved it,” said Nelley, who anticipates Honey Belle distribution to grow across the US this season.
Oppy provides merchandising materials to help retailers convey the “ready to eat” message. As well, since the pears are described as small in size but big in flavour, Nelley noted that they were an excellent choice for kids’ lunch boxes or after-school snacks.
“Parents are always on the lookout for new ideas for nutritious, natural, great-tasting treats to give our little ones,” said Nelley. “Small pears like Honey Belles fit the bill thanks to their small size, sweet flavour, and vitamin content. Retailers can promote them as an ideal addition to the lunchbox.”
Honey Belle pears are available March through May. Other New Zealand pear varieties start later in March and continue into the summer. Simultaneously, Oppy will offer Bartlett, Bosc, D’Anjou, and Packham pears from Argentina and Chile.