Rockit forecasts its biggest harvest yet this season as the producer plans year-round New Zealand supply for its global markets 

New Zealand apple producer, Rockit Global is excited for its biggest season yet, which will see the company export around 200m apples - almost double last year’s volume. 

01-Rockit-Mark O'Donnell

Rockit chief executive Mark O’Donnell

The Hawke’s Bay-based company will also be exporting all-year round from New Zealand for the first time to its ever-expanding network of international markets. 

Chief executive Mark O’Donnell said 2024 is going to be a year of unprecedented growth for Rockit, which is recovering well from the Covid and cyclone difficulties of the past few years. 

“We have ambitious but achievable growth targets, and our aim is to become the world’s most-loved apple brand through our strong sales and marketing plan to help deliver a strong return for our growers following the challenges in 2023,” he said. 

“We always knew 2024 was going to be a big year, with our biggest harvest yet. However, the last couple of years were challenging after Covid hit at the peak of harvest which put enormous pressure on labour for picking and packing our crop. Then last year the cyclone took out a third of our apples. 

“So instead of a steady climb to this point of doubling our crop, we’re doing it all at once. And this will be the first year where we fulfil 12 months’ supply from New Zealand. We’ve achieved this by increasing plantings in New Zealand and increasing our distribution channels and shelf space in global markets.” 

Rockit  has plans to expand international sales in-line with this growth including into the likes of India where it has sold product with the intention of securing a foothold in the high-potential market. 

“We’re more than doubling sales in key global markets - China, the Middle East, Vietnam – and we’re expanding into newer markets we haven’t traditionally supplied, such as convenience channels targeting 7-Eleven and Circle K in North America,” O’Donnell said. 

More on this story in the April edition of Asiafruit Magazine.