Wednesday, 05 May 2021 16:25

'Envy Army' helps get apples to market

Written by  Staff Reporters

A team of 45 office-based staff from T&G – known as the ‘Envy Army’ – have been working part-time shifts at the company’s Hawke’s Bay packhouses to ensure its apples get to key global markets.

“Our orchard and post-harvest teams are pulling out all the stops to pick and pack our crop this season,” says T&G director of operations, Craig Betty.

“We’ve had university students pitching in and working alongside our local seasonal team and Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers.”

Last month, five vessels carrying 28,000 cartons (518 tonnes) of Envy apples left the Napier Port for China and South East Asian markets.

Betty says T&G expects to export a high-quality crop of apples to consumers around the world this year, despite severe labour challenges, tight shipping schedules and a global container shortage.

He says the quality and colour of this season’s apples are exceptional – with 70% of the crop harvested by late April.

“As our mornings get cooler in New Zealand, we’re seeing a strong and vibrant colour coming through and a high proportion of high-grade fruit being packed.”

During the course of the New Zealand export season, T&G will ship approximately two million cartons (200 million apples) of New Zealand grown Envy apples to consumers in 60 countries.

Betty reckons this reflects the brand’s strong demand in global markets, especially in Asia and the United States.

Last month’s ship departure from Napier, marked the beginning of a busy shipping schedule for T&G’s 2021 apple crop, which will depart from both Napier and Nelson Ports over the coming weeks. In mid-April, the company also air freighted Envy apples to China and Malaysia in time for new season retail programmes.

This year, T&G and its partner growers across the world, will grow, pack and sell a total of 5.5 million cartons of Envy.

The company says as demand grows for the apple, it is stepping up plantings in both hemispheres to meet increasing consumer demand. New plantings over the coming years will produce another 10 million cartons by 2030.

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