Taking a bite of the US market.
This season marks a special occasion for the renowned New Zealand apple industry as the long-awaited, first ever commercial export shipment of Honeycrisp apples makes its way from Timaru to Philadelphia, USA, on board the Maersk Line vessel, ‘Irene’s Rainbow’.
New Zealand apple exporters are right now busy supplying their crop to worldwide markets. Kiwi-grown apples are as popular as ever with overseas consumers, and one new variety is making an exciting debut this year.
The Honeycrisp apple has been described by the New York Times as the “iPod of the orchard”, and the variety consistently tops the lists of US consumer favourites. It’s been known for being “explosively crisp” with amazing flavour and texture.
Now, the Kiwi’s are looking to take a bite of this booming US market.
Fruit 2U Limited
New Zealand fruit marketer Fruit 2U Limited is in charge of marketing New Zealand-grown Honeycrisp apples to US-based company Pepin Heights. Director Murray Linnell is convinced about the positive prospects, saying the potential counter-seasonal demand from American buyers could be as high as one million cartons, the equivalent of 850 FFE (forty-foot equivalent).
But how to ship such a fruit without losing its favourable attributes on the way?
A strict cool chain regime
The inaugural shipment of two 40-foot reefer containers comes after many years of test planting in a number of trial orchards in New Zealand, and Maersk Line New Zealand has worked closely with Murray Linnell and his team to ensure optimal product conditions during transportation.
“The Honeycrisp apple is a vulnerable variety,” Linnell says. “It requires a strict cool chain regime, right from picking and storing at the orchard through to the final distribution to super-market shelves.”
Choosing Maersk Line for the job
Adding to the complexity is the fact that not all apples are created equal. Colour, sugar content and flesh pressure (that’s the crunch) are all factors that need to be considered when choosing the right container type and settings. And, according to Linnell, that’s essentially why Maersk Line was chosen for the job by Fruit 2U Limited:
“Maersk Line’s local and global reefer teams really understand the process of refrigeration and the key factors to prolonging the shelf-life of products.”
At Maersk Line, we cannot wait to take a bite of these New Zealand-grown world-class apples on US soil.