Eric Borton Dishes on Borton Fruit's ROCKIT™ Apple and Snacking Trend
YAKIMA, WA - Snacking is key, and as the trend grows considerably across demographics and age groups, companies are answering the call with innovative items for the fresh produce department. Take the ROCKIT™ apple. Grown by Borton Fruit, in partnership with Chelan Fresh, this new and exciting miniature apple variety packs big flavor and a convenient size.
Eric Borton, VP of International Sales & Marketing for Borton Fruit, joins me to share the 411 on the ROCKIT™ apple and how retailers can jump on board with this popular new fruit.
“ROCKIT™ apples are known for their naturally petite stature and distinctively fresh crunch, making ROCKIT™ Apples the perfect snack. The unique small size and incredibly sweet taste makes it the healthy option that children will love, and is equally ideal for busy adults and athletes,” Eric tells me. “We feel we have a real winner with the ROCKIT™ apple. The unique characteristics paired with its innovative and convenient packaging, provide the ability for retailers to tap into a new segment of consumer eating when compared to other traditional apple varieties.”
Retailers can merchandise the ROCKIT™ in a wide variety of ways, even taking it out of the produce department. While Eric tells me that it is a great produce item, it’s much more than that–challenging the traditional thinking for the snack food market and produce market. It also allows for access into the convenient store sector, where fresh whole fruit can be hard to find.
ROCKIT™ was developed in New Zealand and is now commercially licensed to a number of apple growing countries around the globe. In North America, Borton Fruit and Chelan Fresh hold the exclusive licensing to grow market and distribute the ROCKIT™ apple.
This is Borton’s first year of production for ROCKIT™ apples in Washington State. The company began packing this season’s ROCKIT™ production earlier in January.
“We plan to have domestically produced product available into April. With this being our first scalable harvest of ROCKIT™ Apples, we are targeting approximately 100,000 tube units for packing and marketing during this time frame,” Eric says.
While the fruit is from young trees, the eating quality is outstanding and the company is really excited with how well the fruit is eating: crunchy, sweet, and full of flavor. Borton also has an import program in the summer months. The domestically-grown ROCKIT™ apples from Borton Fruit are gown in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. ROCKIT™ apples are also grown by Chelan Fresh in the growing area of Chelan, WA.
“We will also be working with our partners in New Zealand to import ROCKIT™ apples in the off season to complement our USA grown fruit,” he adds.
Looking for some quick highlights of the variety? Here you go:
- Crunchy, sweet, and rich taste
- Grown to be the perfect snack size
- Innovative and convenient packaging and brand design
- Stable shelf life – remains fresh longer
- Presents an opportunity to capture healthy snacking
- Alternative merchandising opportunities to drive apple sales in a non-traditional way.
The ROCKIT™ is currently packaged and marketed in recyclable plastic tube units that range from three to five apples per tube. The packaging protects the fruit and offers a convenient on-the-go snack. The tube packaging is also great for brand positioning of ROCKIT™ and provides for unique ways to merchandise the fruit. Borton ships nationwide and internationally, but is mainly focusing this seasons USA grown crop on distributing in the USA. ROCKIT™ apples are being distributed extensively internationally as well by the Rockit Trading Company of New Zealand and also from other licensed growers from various countries worldwide.