New facility for apple brand

Havelock North Fruit Company (HNFC) has revealed plans for a new 2500sq m facility that could create more than 100 jobs.

The company’s managing director Phil Alison yesterday announced details of the planned Havelock North facility, which is being built to meet global demand for its Rockit apple brand.

Set to open in March next year, the new digs at Cooper Street would include a 2500 m2 packhouse, coolstore, computerised grading equipment and administration offices. It would employ 20 full-time staff and up to 90 seasonal staff.

Developed in 2009, the Rockit apple is marketed in a clear plastic tube. HNFC exports the fruit to the United States, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United Kingdom and it is also sold domestically.

More than $14 million had been invested in the production and marketing of Rockit so far, with a further $10 million projected for the next three years.

HNFC was reporting revenue growth in excess of 700 per cent year on year, which was “a win for Hawke’s Bay”.

“We have had exponential growth and this is projected to continue for the next five years. At current trends Rockit has the potential to become one of the largest value creators in the New Zealand’s horticultural sector.”

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said he welcomed news of the facility.

“Rockit is proving that you can create an added value product from the land and generate world-wide demand. This is an excellent example of an innovation leader and it will be exciting to see the ongoing growth of this business.”

Minister of Small Business and Tukituki MP Craig Foss also said it was “fantastic to see Rockit and Hawke’s Bay harvesting the benefits of our trade agreements such as Taiwan”.

Mr Alison said a recruitment process for staff at the facility would be announced in January.

Article Courtesy of: Hawke’s Bay Today, © Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

For more information about Rockit Apples, please follow this link: http://www.rockitapple.com