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Pictured: Rockit directors Murray Denyer, Steve Saunders, Phil Alison and Rob Craig.
The global sensation Rockit™ apple has scored an international award, taking out the New Zealand-Taiwan Business Excellence Award in Taipei.
Havelock North Fruit Company managing Director Phil Alison was in Taipei to attend the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (ANZCham) Business Excellence Awards.
“This is a fantastic achievement for us, as we continue to grow our global markets. We continue to focus on innovation and securing new markets,” Alison said.
The awards recognise Australian, New Zealand and Taiwanese companies that have made a significant contribution to the bilateral business relationships among the three countries.
“We’re thrilled to gain recognition for developing strong international relationships and we’re particularly proud of the partnership with Taiwan,” he said.
“Our results in the Taiwanese market demonstrate that the commercialisation, market strategy and market development are following best practices and trying to meet and keep up with the demands.”
Last year 2000 cartons were shipped to Taiwan and this has increased to 15,000 cartons in 2014.
The Rockit™ apple is a miniature apple – slightly bigger than a golf ball, which was created in Hawke’s Bay. It is uniquely marketed in a branded clear plastic tube aimed at the high-end convenience food market.
The packaging helps Rockit stand out on supermarket shelves and is now being sold domestically and in the US, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the UK, with more international markets being opened up as new production comes on stream. 
The fruit’s characteristics are sweet, crunchy and distinctly fresh and features a block red intense blush colour. It is designed to offer a healthy snack alternative for children and adults. Sold in an innovative consumer pack Rockitis marketed in a range of “ready to go” pack sizes.
In 2010 the company won the 2010 KPMG Food Enterprise Innovation Award and was one of the three finalists for the overall Supreme New Zealand Food Award.
Alison said the ongoing award success was further confirmation that the Rockit™ apples had found a place in the market as a truly natural, and healthy snack food with wide-reaching appeal.
Havelock North Fruit Company worked with Plant and Food Research together with Hawke’s Bay company Prevar, which aims to develop new apple and pear varieties to develop the unique apple.
The apples are not genetically modified but the result of cross-breeding between selected varieties.
Rockit™ trees take about three years to produce fruit ready for the market. 79 hectares are under cultivation with a further 55ha planned.
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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