New Zealand-based Global Fresh NZ has purchased a 33 per cent stake in Zeafruit, the Gisborne-based citrus and avocado domestic marketing company.
The part-purchase is a step in Global Fresh’s diversification strategy that will allow the New Zealand-based export company to benefit from Zeafruit’s resources and manage the domestic sales of its New Zealand-grown produce.
“The integration allows us to utilise combined resources for greater efficiency, providing more seamless delivery to our customers,” Steve Trickett, marketing director of Global Fresh NZ and Just Avocadoes, told Asiafruit. “Also, by removing duplicity in certain areas, we can improve returns to our grower suppliers.
“For both companies, the creation of a fully integrated grower-packer-marketer supply model allows us to read and respond more quickly to continuously changing customer requirements.”
Global Fresh NZ is the marketing arm of the JACE Group, which also runs New Zealand-based avocado packer-marketer Just Avocados.
“With our Just Avocados Ltd facility contributing around 40 per cent of Zeafruit's avocado programme requirements and the strong position they have established in citrus, there were obvious synergies to be built on for our expanding produce range,” said Just Avocados Managing director Andrew Darling in a company statement. “Primarily, we are packer-marketers with a strong export focus and skillset, and while we could have invested in staff and systems to build a domestic market business unit, it takes time and would only add yet another player to the game.”
Zeafruit general manager Glen Dunseath has welcomed the integration, saying it was a move that cemented a “strong and effective supply partnership.”
The biggest challenge, though, will be the constraints on human resources and securing the experienced, skilled staff for what is an increasingly competitive category management environment, Trickett explained. “We’re always looking for the ‘new crop’ of young talent coming through to support the business growth, but at times it can be a scarce commodity in the produce industry.”
Global Fresh opened its Australian branch in April, broadening its trade across the Tasman to include Australian imports of mangoes, tomatoes and citrus into New Zealand.