Thursday, 16 February 2023 11:25

Big year for little apple!

Written by  Staff Reporters
Rockit Global chief executive Mark O’Donnell describes 2022 as one of the company’s most challenging years. Rockit Global chief executive Mark O’Donnell describes 2022 as one of the company’s most challenging years.

Strong demand saw Rockit apples launch into markets across the globe, selling out at record prices in 2022, according to apple company Rockit Global.

Chief executive Mark O’Donnell describes last year as “one of its most challenging years yet”, which saw the Hawke’s Bay headquartered apple brand perform highly during a tough season.

“We’ve made massive progress towards our vision of becoming the world’s most loved apple brand,” O’Donnell claims. “It’s predicted we’ll more than double our 2022 export, packing and shipping 160 million apples this year.”

He says growth is coming strongly from the Middle East and South East Asia, with three countries in particular showing the sharpest uptake in Rockit apple sales.

“We’ve welcomed a new distributor in Indonesia, which helps account for a 154% uplift yearon- year, while in the Middle East the FIFA World Cup 2023 boosted sales in Qatar by 38% and expanding direct-to-retail distribution in Saudi Arabia increased sales there by 88%.”

O’Donnell adds that demand for its fruit is growing at such a rate the company is now seeking to partner with new growers in its established growing regions of Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, alongside a planned expansion into the South Island.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be making a move south,” he says. “We’re currently reaching out to experienced growers and landowners in Nelson and Canterbury who are looking to diversify their businesses – and the response is already hugely positive.”

O’Donnell puts the company success in 2022 down to the dedication and passion of its growers in trying circumstances.

“What haven’t we had thrown at us in 2022?” he asks. “Between logistics challenges, labour shortages and weather events – and let’s not forget about Covid 19 – it’s been a tough time for anyone growing apples in New Zealand.”

Looking ahead to 2023, he says Rockit is thrilled to be continuing its partnership with Global Ambassador Kane Williamson.

O’Donnell says the company is also delighted to be back on the roster of the many trade shows and events which have returned since borders reopened last year.

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