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New Zealand's Darling Group: 4 New Fruits Coming to China

August 19, 2019

This content is sponsored by FreshBridge Supply Chain, a leading service provider for international fresh fruit brands in China.

In 2018, Darling Group entered the China market with its first shipment of New Zealand avocados while establishing partnerships with multiple Chinese retailers. As Darling Group’s main distributor in China, FreshBridge Supply Chain will soon be introducing more of Darling Group’s premium products to the China market.

Jack Zhou, Sales and Operations Director of FreshBridge Supply Chain, recently explained to Produce Report, the company is currently focusing on introducing Darling Group’s lemons, avocados, mandarins, and oranges to the China market.

The Darling Group’s Lucas Lemon brand includes lemons of both the Meyer and Yen Ben varieties, of which Yen Ben is an Australian planting variety typically available from May through September.

The Meyer variety is originally from China but was later transplanted and underwent extensive breeding for disease resistance and increased yield in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, among other countries. It is the most common lemon variety for cooking and is widely celebrated on China's internet as a popular summer beverage ingredient. Its skin is fragrant, and the fruit’s flesh combines the sweet and sour textures of orange and lemon.

According to Zhou, FreshBridge Supply Chain has just imported into China Meyer lemons ideally suited for making lemon water beverages, an increasingly poopular drink in China. These lemons are of the Darling brand and will be sold in China in both online and offline retail channels. 

In the New Zealand avocado business Darling Group also plays an important role. The company’s famous Hass avocado brand, Jake’s Avocado, is supplied year-round by Darling Group orchards in Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. However, Darling Group avocados from New Zealand orchards are special: they contain twice the vitamin B6 and 20% more folate than other avocados while maintaining a good balance of ripeness, oil content, and flavor. According to Darling Group, the 2019-2020 production season will primarily focus on sales to Asia markets, including China. The company will also be investing in improved quality control and product packaging, as Australian and New Zealand avocados face direct competition in Asia with those from Chile.

FreshBridge Supply Chain is also focusing on introducing the Afourer and Honey Murcott mandarin varieties from Darling Group into China. Australia’s mandarin production regions feature rich soil and wide variations in day and nighttime temperatures. These conditions result in especially juicy mandarins with high sugar content that have earned them the nickname “honey bombs.” 

Additionally, Darling Group’s Tippa’s orange brand of Navel orange will also soon be arriving in China. Australian Navel oranges are ripe from May through November each year, while Chinese domestic Navel oranges are typically only available in November and December. Australian Navel oranges are full of juice and have a delicate balance of sweet and sour flavors. Presently, Australia is the fourth largest supplier of Navel oranges to China after South Africa, Egypt, and the United States. 

Led by founder and Managing Director Andrew Darling, Darling Group is a family-owned company from New Zealand with avocado, kiwifruit, citrus, and blueberry orchards in New Zealand. For 20 years, Darling Group has been expanding its fresh produce supply chain and developing global partnerships with dedication to preserving quality and freshness while offering an uninterrupted year-round supply of fresh fruits to markets around the world.

In 2016, Darling Group acquired Australian fresh fruit logistics provider JH Leavy & Co., and expanded to include orchards in North America, including Mexico and the United States, achieving a full 12-month fresh fruit supply capability. Additionally, Darling Group cooperates with avocado producers Just Avocados Ltd. and orchard management company Avoworks, and holds a 50% stake in Zeafruit. Darling Group provides orchard management, packing, and distribution services to ensure quality and freshness are maintained across every link in the supply chain. The company’s main target markets include the United States, Australia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

This article is a translated, edited version of an article that originally appeared in Chinese and can be viewed here.

Images: Pixabay, FreshBridge, Darling Group

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