With its premium Envy™ apple on track to be a billion-dollar brand and global demand for its other apple varieties on the increase, one of New Zealand’s largest apple growers and marketers, T&G Global, has announced significant investment in its apple operations, including $100 million for a new state of the art packhouse.
The packhouse, which is adjacent to T&G’s current Whakatu East site in the Hawke’s Bay, will be one of the largest in the southern hemisphere and will house world-leading automation technology. As well as improving productivity, the new facility will allow T&G to accommodate increasing volumes of Envy™ and other apple varieties, as global demand for premium fruit increases.
Gareth Edgecombe, T&G Global CEO, says with consumer demand increasing globally, and independent forecasting showing an additional 1.9 billion Envy™ apples will be needed by 2030, there is a real need for investment now to create a future-ready, highly productive and technology enabled premium export apples business.
“The multi-million-dollar investment we are announcing today clearly demonstrates T&G’s commitment to expanding its premium apples’ category well into the future to create value for our growers, consumers and shareholders,” says Gareth.
“As well as the $100 million investment into our world class automated packhouse, we are committing millions to orchard redevelopment across 300 hectares in the Hawke’s Bay and Nelson over the next four years to support our Envy™ growth strategy. This includes 2D plantings of Envy™ to allow for future automated technology.
“Further investment in new orchard automation equipment, including eight new picking platforms and ten hydraladas ahead of the 2022 picking season, will also enable greater labour efficiencies and improved health and safety, not only during picking, but across a range of orchard activities.
“T&G’s strong partnership and working relationship with our independent growers has played a critical role in growing the Envy™ brand and our wider apples export business over the years. Our growers are a key part of our success and will play a pivotal role in supporting the execution of our growth strategy moving forward,” he says.
As well as developing T&G-owned orchards, the company is working with other large-scale investors on opportunities to capitalise on growth, such as iwi and the NZ Super Fund through FarmRight, who recently purchased 40 hectares of T&G’s orchards. That relationship sees T&G contracted to provide orchard services and all post-harvest, export and marketing services.
“The fact key partners such as NZ Super Fund are realising the strong investment opportunity and potential demonstrates the strength of our strategy and future direction,” says Gareth.
“Most importantly, the expansion programme we’re delivering has kaitiakitanga at its heart, with a focus on the care and guardianship of our people, our land, our natural resources and our produce.
“By harnessing the latest in technology and automation we can create a safer workplace for our T&G whānau and make our business even more accessible and inclusive, as we actively recruit more Kiwis into our business. We’re further protecting our produce with the introduction of world-leading soft fruit handling technology, and we’re protecting our place through initiatives such as capturing water from the new packhouse roof to use elsewhere in our business, as well as using improved water filtration and modern waste-water treatment technologies. The use of solar power is also being considered, to reduce our reliance on the local network.
“This expansion programme will create a huge legacy for future generations of New Zealanders, which is incredibly special and a big responsibility for us all. We have a fantastic high performing team of dedicated and committed people, an excellent strategy, and the knowledge, expertise and energy to create this future. This is hugely exciting for T&G and for Aotearoa, and we’re looking forward to delivering this bold programme of work,” says Gareth.