East meets West in latest pear cultivar

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Piqa Boo will bring fresh opportunities to the market.
Piqa Boo will bring fresh opportunities to the market.

Hawke's Bay-based Prevar has signed an agreement with Australasian company Freshmax for the new Piqa Boo brand pear to be grown in Australia.

The cultivar with denomination "PremP009", branded as Piqa Boo and bred by Plant & Food Research, combines characteristics from European, Japanese and Chinese pears, providing a crisp, juicy texture with what Prevar says has "exceptional" storage and shelf life.

Piqa Boo is the first of a range of interspecific pears from the Plant & Food Research breeding programme to be globally marketed under the Piqa family trademark. Each fruit, bred to combine key characteristics from European and Asian pears, will use an additional suffix brand name for each cultivar in the Piqa brand family.

Freshmax group chief executive Ross Kane says: "We believe there are excellent commercial opportunities for these new fruits in Australia and in Asian export markets, and are excited for their future.

"The pear fruit category is in need of rejuvenation and these new Piqa brand fruit selections will be a significant catalyst for this.

"The Piqa Boo brand cultivar is visually striking in both colour and shape and has a very appealing crisp texture and flavour, resulting in a very broad appeal to consumers."

The fruit has a short pyriform shape, bright block red colour and small brown lenticels. It also has exceptional storage and shelf life with the same ready-to-eat convenience of apples. A characteristic "Williams pear" flavour develops in fruit during cold storage. "These fruits should also be well received by younger consumers," says Andrew Maughan, national business manager for Holman Fresh (a subsidiary of Freshmax) and the licence manager for Freshmax.

"We have already assembled a very committed and entrepreneurial group of pear growers to commence the planting of this selection. Anyone else who wishes to participate in Australia should contact me.

"Prevar is very pleased with the business vision that the Freshmax Group has for this new and exciting cultivar," says Brett Ennis, chief executive of Prevar. "The essential brand message for Piqa fruit is 'delightfully exotic', which captures the best elements of Western and Eastern pears fused together in this new range of fruits. We look forward to the range of opportunities this new brand will create."

Prevar was established to globally commercialise the new apple and pear cultivars emanating from the Plant & Food Research breeding programme. The Freshmax Group is a large fruit marketing and distribution company that supplies major Australasian and global retailers with locally-grown and imported fresh fruits.

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