Have you any news to share about T&G Global and the performance of your main apple brands?
Tony Fissette: It’s been another very busy and successful year for T&G Global and we’re excited to be celebrating our 120th anniversary in 2017. The 2016 New Zealand season was another major success, having achieved our best result ever for Jazz, Cox Orange Pippin and the organic apple category. Particularly encouraging this year was the performance of Jazz. Based on the market demand and growth, the plan is to increase plantings of Jazz over the next few years, in addition to 350ha of Envy.
We ended the New Zealand Jazz season in mid-September and started loading the first European Jazz in south-east France and Italy as soon as it became available in the first week of October. The cold nights just came in at the right time to give the European Jazz and Envy the right colouration. The eating quality has been outstanding and the first fruit was very well received in the market, although fruit sizes in the main growing areas are slightly down on last year. Growers are happy and proud to have Jazz and Envy in their portfolio, as most of the standard varieties and a lot of other club varieties in Europe are not meeting expectations.
What products will you be promoting at Fruit Logistica 2017?
TF: We will be launching our refreshed Jazz brand at Fruit Logistica, alongside our increasingly popular Envy apple brand. Jazz, as an apple brand, is just 15 years’ young, but consumer research by our marketing team has identified an opportunity to reinvigorate it and reinforce our premium position.
We’re excited to have a new global Jazz brand suite that includes a new brand identity, design system and guidelines, packaging graphics and point of sale material. The refresh also includes our digital platforms, such as new multilingual websites and assets for our in-market social media sites.
Fruit Logistica will be the catalyst for significant trade and media engagement for the refreshed Jazz, and we’re looking forward to sharing it. Feedback from customers has been very enthusiastic to date and everyone agrees this is an important step to give Jazz more visibility.
What major trends do you see in the fresh produce business?
TF: We are seeing increasing focus on provenance, locally grown and regional fruit. We are fortunate to have large plantings of Jazz and Envy in Europe which we continue to expand in response to demand. Food safety continues to be critical, including areas such as consistency and taste, particularly for the young generation, but our fruit rates highly on these scores. Our biggest challenge will be matching plantings of Jazz and Envy to our strong growth in demand.
In which countries or regions do you see the biggest opportunities for growth?
TF: Germany remains a key market for us with volume up 8 per cent year on year. We have also seen strong growth in the French market for Jazz apples via Fruitenz, a marketing company set up in conjunction with our French growing partners. We also expect to see growth in the Italian and Spanish markets as our Envy plantings come into production in the next few years.