When you think of Apple and innovation, you’re probably thinking of Steve Jobs and the iphone, but Hawke’s Bay is the home of another apple innovator, but of the eating kind.
Prevar developed the PremA96 apple variety (cultivar) that has become a global sensation under the brand name Rockit™, a pint-sized apple that has rocked the conventional snack food category through the work of Hawke’s Bay based business Rockit Global who own the brand. Prevar, formed in 2004, is a private joint venture company owned by the apple sector between New Zealand Apples & Pears Incorporated, Plant & Food Research (New Zealand) and Apples and Pears Australia Limited.
Prevar chief executive Tony Martin has ambitions of ensuring many more premium New Zealand apple brands or “number one hits” propel New Zealand’s PREVAR chief executive Tony Martin global apple market share from around 1% to 5-10 percent. PremA96, its first international number one is now sold in over 30 countries, and grown in eight – such as New Zealand, the US, the UK – and is regarded as a premium high value apple variety, not a commodity apple such as Royal Gala.
At any point of time Prevar has around 200 new varieties in stages of R&D that are narrowed down with only the best of the crop making it into full production.
In 20 years Prevar has commercially licenced 17 varieties and entered into a total of 33 license agreements. It holds more than 170 trademark registrations across the globe. Tony says the Prevar business is centred around four core areas – consumer insights-driven innovation, a world-class breeding programme (with Plant & Food Research), customer-centred commercialisation, and industry & category Leadership.
He says that although the New Zealand industry remains at the forefront of innovation and premium quality in the global industry, it is constantly challenging its thinking and pushing the edges of innovation, to maintain and enhance its competitive advantage as a value creator.
“We are an innovation company and I think it’s important to recognise that a big chunk of our revenue is reinvested back in to R&D so that we stay at the forefront with the best products. Each year in June, apple growers and marketers are invited to an open day to see the latest varieties on offer.
“We’re owned by the industry, so it is an open forum and everyone can try the apples and put in an expression of interest. When we see a big opportunity for an apple to be globalised then we will look at prospective licensees ambition, markets.
“We’re owned by the industry, so it is an open forum and everyone can try the apples and put in an expressions of interest. When we see a big opportunity for an apple to be globalised then we will look at prospective licensees ambition, capability and capacity to grow as we know it takes immense resources to make new varieties a big success in international markets.
“We enter into a testing arrangement and the prospective licensees get some trees to plant, which are monitored over a number of years,” he says.
Apples with the greatest chance of global success are actively promoted and agreements are reached via commercial negotiations. Groups of individual companies may get together to create a marketing entity to license the new variety or it may be licensed with larger integrated growing, marketing and export corporates so as to fully maximise the opportunity, which in-turn helps bolster ongoing investment in future varieties.
First published by The Profit. Click here to read the full article.