New technology could boost avocado exports

Last updated 13:33 20/10/2009

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Avocado exports could be boosted by $20 million a year if investors are found for a new food processing technology.

New Zealand-owned company Fressure Foods is planning to import ultra high pressure processing technology, which doubles the shelf-life of avocados from 30 to 60 days.

The process uses high pressures to kill bacteria without the need for chemicals or preservatives.

Fressure Foods chief executive Vern Dark said the process was safe and environmentally friendly, and did not affect the texture, flavour or nutritional value of avocados.

The technology had already driven up avocado consumption in overseas markets where it was in use, he said.

"We believe this technology can have a huge influence on the New Zealand avocado industry."

A planned processing plant in Pukekohe could create up to 80 new jobs in its first year and increase annual exports by $20 million, Mr Dark said.

However, the plan was awaiting approval from the avocado industry and additional investment toward the $15 million factory was yet to be secured.

Fressure Foods planned to export to Australia, South East Asia and Japan.

The process can also be used on other fruits where oversupply was an issue, such as passionfruit, mandarins and feijoas.



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