T&G Global Reveals Launch of VentureFruit, a Global Genetics and Variety Management Business; Gareth Edgecombe, Peter Landon-Lane, Emma Brown, and Andrew Mackenzie Comment
NEW ZEALAND - Varietal development is mysterious—except for those who have a hand in the process. T&G Global is one such produce luminary, and has wielded its know-how to create a new global genetics and variety management business called VentureFruit.
“With consumers’ needs continually evolving, it’s vital our sector delivers on taste, nutrition, convenience, and sustainability. We need to provide consumers and customers with great tasting, healthy fruit, and at the same time ensure that what we grow and the way we do it has a light footprint. Plant genetics play a pivotal role in delivering this,” says Gareth Edgecombe, Chief Executive Officer of T&G.
Gareth continues, stating that unique plant genetics are critical to shaping the future of a sustainable, global fresh produce sector.
“Over the course of T&G’s 124-year history, we’ve established a track record in global IP management and commercialization, built from our deep expertise in plant varieties and our extensive network of the world’s best genetics and scientific partners. This has seen us create premium brands from exclusively licensed varieties, including Plant & Food Research’s cultivar ‘Scilate’ marketed as Envy™, which is today one of the leading apple brands in the United States and Asia,” he said. “More recently, we commercialized the world’s first climate-adapted apple from the Hot Climate Programme, a collaboration between Plant & Food Research, IRTA, and Fruitfutur, to breed apples and pears tailored for warm environments. Through unique varieties, our sector can grow high-value, premium fresh produce. With this, increased value will be generated for consumers, retailers, growers, and communities, and we can help nurture our natural environment through adaptation and innovation.”
VentureFruit has joined a partnership to co-invest alongside science organization Plant & Food Research in a range of new and unique berries, of which VentureFruit will be the exclusive global commercialization partner. It is also teaming up with Plant IP Partners to test and evaluate new varieties of apples which have been bred in New Zealand, a press release stated.
In its partnership with Plant & Food Research, VentureFruit is exploring new raspberry, boysenberry, and blackberry varieties as well as hybrid berries, known as the Rubus program.
“Over the last ten years, global berry consumption has more than doubled and consumption per capita is expected to rise further, with high demand coming from Europe and North America,” Peter Landon-Lane, Managing Director VentureFruit, says. “VentureFruit will help meet this growth through bringing high performing cultivars with unique characteristics to the market which not only deliver a better, more consistent product, but will extend the growing season and enable berries to be grown in different locations and soil types. The berries from our partnership with Plant & Food Research are being strategically bred with great robust flavors, distinctive colors, from yellow and orange to dark red, and a glossy appearance. In addition, they’ll be firm and able to produce high yields of quality fruit, which can be adapted to a range of environments and harvest windows.”
Emma Brown, Manager of Plant Varieties, Plant & Food Research, notes that this new partnership builds on a long and deep relationship spanning decades.
“Plant & Food Research and T&G have successfully worked together on a number of projects since the 1990s, most notably through the commercialization of Plant & Food Research varieties that now underpin T&G’s world-leading JAZZ™ and Envy brands. This relationship was extended recently through T&G’s strategic partnership to commercialize new varieties from the Hot Climate Programme and our collaboration to develop and commercialize new blueberry cultivars. Plant & Food Research are thrilled to further deepen and broaden this relationship by partnering in the Rubus program with VentureFruit,” says Brown.
Initial berry varieties are expected to commence commercialization in the next few years and will start in New Zealand before moving internationally.
VentureFruit’s exclusive partnership with Plant IP Partners will see a test selection of new apple varieties planted in growing regions throughout New Zealand this winter. In response to consumer demand for early season apples which also deliver on taste and texture, these new varieties will range from early-to-mid season, and are crisp and sweet with high color.
“VentureFruit is undertaking extensive sensory and insights research in key global markets on a wide range of apple varieties, which will help us understand consumer preferences and identify future growth opportunities,” continues Landon-Lane. “From this, we’ll be able to deliver unique new varieties which stand out from the crowd in today’s highly competitive market.”
Andrew Mackenzie, Founding Partner, Plant IP Partners, also discussed the significance of this partnership.
“We’re really pleased Plant IP Partners and VentureFruit are co-investing in this apple breeding program,” Mackenzie says. “The aim is to develop varieties in New Zealand for global marketing. It’s great to be associated with a significant global player with an impressive record of introducing superior genetics, premium produce, and innovation for consumers.”
In addition to its two new partnerships, VentureFruit has established an extensive pipeline of premium apple, pear, and berry varieties. The company will work with customers across the globe and, of course, provide its variety management services to T&G Global.
Stay tuned for more from this newly formed company as ANUK reports.