Apples go like a rocket

Last updated 05:00 11/08/2014
 Phil Alison of Rockit Apples.
TASTE OF SUCCESS: Phil Alison of Rockit Apples.

Relevant offers

Farming

Dairy farm's effluent consent approved Post mortems on cows after mystery deaths Forestry workers dodge poachers' bullets Dairy farmer's really milking her dream job Not sheepish at the dog auction Quad bike crash victim named Dairy farmers allege council bullying Sick waterways may gain from farm retirement Wool deal puts sector on track for unity Why are farmers not using the latest technologies?

Taiwan is one of New Zealand's leading apple markets. Hawke's Bay apple grower Phil Alison said his company had had "phenomenal" success with small red Rockit apples, sold in stylised cylindrical packaging.

He had a unique product that was different to the rest of the industry's "trade brands".

"We are in the snack business, not the apple business. The competition is chocolate bars and nuts. We have to reach directly to consumers so we spend a lot on branding and research," Alison said.

Taiwan was the company's test market because consumers there were very discerning. It had grown 10-fold in the past two years and was now the company's biggest market. It also exported to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. He envisaged big volume increases in the next five to 10 years as orchards growing the new variety came on stream.

Alison said he had wanted to shift from viewing apples as a commodity because it was not a very sustainable business model. People thought he had "rocks in his head" when he came up with the concept. He admitted to a ‘eureka" moment when he came up with the packaging idea, but he had put in the homework.

"I spent days walking supermarket aisles researching the market," he said.

Ad Feedback

- BusinessDay

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which way are farmers likely to vote in the 2014 General Election?

National

Labour

Greens

NZ First

Conservatives

Maori Party

Internet Mana

Other

Vote Result

Related story: Farmers weigh voting choices

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

rural digi editions 4/9

Digital editions

Read our rural publications online