Orders of tree stock for new Hawke's Bay apple variety Dazzle are being stalled because of huge demand which will see almost a millon trees planted by 2021.
The trees are produced by Fruitcraft, a Whakatu-based collaboration of Bostock New Zealand, Mr Apple and Freshmax, which holds the global licence rights to grow and market Dazzle.
Fruitcraft manager Steve Potbury says new plantings in New Zealand have stopped and it's time to "take a breather" and ensure robust systems are in place for the future of the variety which was launched at the end of 2016.
"We want to meet the strong demand we are already seeing," Potbury says. "But we need to ensure we manage the production so that supply doesn't outweigh demand."
"The response to this apple from the market has been extremely positive and growers have planted the variety more quickly than expected," he says.
"This has really highlighted the potential in this apple variety. Not only are our customers and consumers delighted in the quality, appearance and taste, but growers are excited about how well it has been performing in the orchard."
Nearly one million trees have been ordered and will be planted by 2021, and production from the orchards will result in close to 2 million export cartons of the red apple available from New Zealand by 2026.
It highlights the longevity of the project to develop a new large, red, sweet apple, taking 20 years to be developed by Plant and Food Research at its research station in Havelock North, and now licensed to Fruitcraft by commercialisation operation Prevar.
The first commercial volumes of Dazzle are hitting international markets this month, primarily targeted at Asia.
But the response from other regions has been such that fruit will also be sent to Europe and North America, and Potbury says: "The interest in this new apple will make it one of New Zealand's most planted and popular apples."
Quantities this year are limited with around 14,000 cartons exported from New Zealand.
"It's really exciting to see our first shipments of Dazzle hitting the markets," he says.
"We have developed a strong brand for this new apple and it's great to see the new packaging rolling out. We have a marketing programme set and have received very positive feedback from international customers."
The company believes the potential for Dazzle is high, and the response to the opportunity has been so positive that Fruitcraft has opened up the licence to grow and market it to other exporters from New Zealand.
Along with Freshmax, Mr Apple and Bostock, Fruitcraft has sub-licensed Pickmee, RD8, Taylor Corp, and Golden Bay Fruit to export Dazzle grown in New Zealand.
Fruitcraft also has a licence with American grower Chelan Fresh, of Washington State, and other growing territories around the world are being considered for licences, and expects to be licensing a marketer in Europe to grow Dazzle "in the near future," Potbury says.