New Zealand top fruit growers are meeting in Hawkes Bay, heartland of the industry, at the end of this month to debate their marketing strategy in the wake of the apple and pear marketing board’s deregulation two years ago.
While New Zealand fruit has a strong reputation, many are concerned the fragmentation away from a single-selling desk runs contrary to the trend of European multiples seeking large volumes from single suppliers.
Additionally some of its unique varieties such as Gala and Braeburn no longer provide an edge because they are now grown internationally.
Further, a stronger NZ dollar is putting pressure on returns to the point where many in the industry believe that this season could be make or break.
John McCliskie, a respected producer and former chairman of the NZAPMB and now president of the World Apple and Pear Association has said: “We used to have no freedom and lots of discipline. Now we have lots of freedom and not much discipline. The trick is to combine the best of both.”