MONTREAL — New Zealand pipfruit grower Enza is ramping up commercial volumes of its Envy apple variety, and its North American marketer believes that it has the potential to be an unequivocal success in the marketplace.
Envy, a cross between a Braeburn and a Gala, was developed by HortResearch in New Zealand, which was looking to combine the eating quality of the Gala with the storage and shipping qualities of the Braeburn.
At the 86th annual Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention and exposition, held here April 13-15, the Vancouver, BC-based Oppenheimer Group was offering samples of the variety and receiving strong feedback from attendees.
David Nelley, category director for apples, pears and pineapples for Oppenheimer, expects 40,000 boxes of the Envy variety to be available to the North American marketplace this year, with volume ramping up to 500,000 boxes in four years as production comes on in Washington state. He believes that the 500,000-box volume is an ideal target for North America to prevent saturation in the marketplace while keeping the interest level high for the variety.
Currently, New Zealand is the primary source of Envy, and volume has been limited in North America as most of the volume goes to the Asian marketplace.
“It is a variety that does extremely well in Asia due to its large size, red color, sweet flavor profile and strong storage and shipping qualities,” Mr. Nelley told The Produce News during the CPMA expo in Montreal. “But those qualities are also what make it desirable in the North American marketplace.”
Tim Jacometti, export manager at Delica North America Inc., Oppenheimer’s export partner, agreed that the variety has been a hit in Asia.
“People are going crazy for the Envy in Asia,” he said. “Its size, color, high sugar, great crunch and beautiful white flesh are the attributes that are favored in the Asian marketplace. Actually, Envy has been available in North America and Asia for the same amount of time, but it sells in Asia at a higher price point, so most of the volume has been directed there.”
Mr. Nelley said that Oppenheimer will be working with select retailers whose stores serve the right demographic to move the premium fruit. He said that at the beginning, Envy would retail for $1.29 to $1.49 per pound in order to build interest in the variety.
But he added that the Envy is a very dense apple and that rings would likely be higher than other apples as a result.
“And we will only be packing the best quality round, non-russet apples with the correct starch and sugar levels so that we make sure consumers have a good eating experience and come back for Envy,” he said. “No matter where the apple is grown — New Zealand, Washington state or France — it will always be grown to Enza’s high standards.”