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Lenswood targeting Asia with new Apple varieties

Lenswood apples_freshplaza

The season for Gala and MiApple™ has already begun at Australian grower Lenswood Apples. Other main varieties such as Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady and Rockit™ will be harvested mid-March onwards.

"While fruit size and general quality looks like being good, overall this current growing season has been challenging again for our growers." explained James Walters CEO. "It has been considerably cooler and wetter during spring than recent seasons. We also had issues around heat damage and this year an increase in damage by birds. With the cooler spring, flowering has been delayed by up to 3 weeks. The cooler growing conditions created initial issues with pest and disease control but many of these issues have been overcome."

James said that the overall crop volume is expected to be down about 5% compared to the 2016 crop, but this may be influenced at harvest by the better fruit size which they are seeing in the orchards at the moment. "The brix levels in fruit tested to date has been better than expected considering the cooler growing year. New varieties such as MiApple and Rockit are already at levels the same as last year and, with a later season, could set a new bench mark for these premium varieties."

Lenswood's core varieties are Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Sundowner and their high colour derivatives. There are a number of varieties that are being phased out, such as Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Jonathan but also a number of exciting new varieties being launched into the market such as MiApple, Rockit and Redlove. "We are also testing a number of additional new varieties that will be launched in years to come and we also have 2 growers that are organically certified and another 2 that are in the conversion stage as they progress to organic certification."

The company's main markets and customers are the major supermarkets Woolworths, Coles and ALDI, but they also supply the independent retail sector through the wholesale produce markets in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. As the export program continues to grow, they are working closely with customers in the UK, South East Asia and UAE.

As seems to be the trend, Lenswood Apples is targeting the Asian markets with the new varieties Rockit and MiApple and are also currently testing new varieties with the intention of serving this market.

"After 20 years in development, Redlove is Australia’s first internally red fleshed apple. Tasting like a Granny Smith, Redlove has equally impressive cooking attributes with the red colour remaining once the apple has been juiced, sliced or even baked. But while the apple is impressive, the tree itself holds equally attractive and striking characteristics, including a pinkish blossom with the leaves and bark showcasing a mixture of dark reds and pinks, making the tree a highly sought-after item in the home garden market. It’s easy to grow, disease resistant, comes in both dwarf and columnar versions and is ideal for either planted in the garden or potted," explains James.

Hitting the supermarket shelves for the very first time in 2017, Miapple is Australia’s newest early-season Apple variety. One of the first to be picked, the block red-skinned, cream fleshed Miapple is attractive, has a refreshing flavour and has been described as having that perfect ‘just-right, delicious juicy crunch’.

Rockit has been developed to firmly target the growing FMCG “grab and go” product line category. Going head to head with products such as berries, chips, chocolates and other more traditional snacking lines, Rockit is a small, sweet and crisp Apple that has an almost non-existent core and comes in a handy, convenient snack pack. Rockit offers consumers an easy, healthy snack alternative. Launched successfully in 2016, the campaign resulted in a high level of brand awareness and product satisfaction and a further refinement on the target consumer market.

For more information: Julian Carbone julian@lenswoodcoop.com.au

Source: www.freshplaza.com Author: Nichola Watson 
Image: www.freshplaza.com

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“This project has been funded by the Australian Trade Commission as a part of the Asian Business Engagement (ABE) grant program and is supported by Trade and Investment Queensland and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland.”

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