Growers join forces in Marron d’Or deal

New squash variety a hit with Chinese consumers.

New squash variety a hit with Chinese consumers.

NEW PARTNERSHIP: New Zealand’s leading squash growers Gisborne’s Leaderbrand and Bostock NZ from Hawke’s Bay have partnered up to grow what they intend will be the “world’s most premium squash variety”. Leaderbrand’s general manager Richard Burke (left) and John Bostock with some of the Marron d’Or squash. Picture supplied

Gisborne squash producer Leaderbrand and Hawke’s Bay growers Bostock New Zealand have entered into a partnership growing a new squash variety — Marron d’Or.

Last year Bostock stepped up supply of the new variety, a Kabocha squash hybrid, into the Chinese market, after an initial shipment in 2017 proved a major hit with consumers.

Leaderbrand and Bostock will produce Marron d’Or exclusively.

The squash industry had changed, said Leaderbrand chief executive Richard Burke. There was more focus from consumers on quality and taste.

“As growers we need to alter what we are doing so we need to develop programmes like Marron d’Or. “This variety is new and exciting and is already being snapped up in Asia,” Mr Burke said.

“We teamed up with Bostock New Zealand because like us, they are experienced in growing and a collaborative approach will be stronger.

“I think we can deliver together and we will have the scale to market this variety together,” he said.

“It is hard to grow squash well and get it right. It takes skills and experience and that is what both Leaderbrand and Bostock New Zealand have.”

Bostock New Zealand owner, John Bostock, said the two companies were “the heart” of New Zealand’s squash industry.

“So partnering to market and sell this new variety makes sense and is very exciting,” he said.

“We will be stronger together.”

There was big demand in China for Marron d’Or, “and we are stepping up our supply into the Chinese market, after last year’s initial shipment proved to be extremely popular with consumers”.

He said it was a Japanese variety that was not available in China.

“It has a sweet, nutty flavour which is really delicious. It stays green for quite a period, and does not decay as quickly as other squash varieties.

“I think the Chinese are very receptive to new cuisine and new taste and something foreign and exciting such as this.”

New Zealand squash volumes to China have been expanding at a rate of about 1.5 times every year, and very strong demand this year will see 2019 volumes more than double those of 2018.

“Chinese consumers cannot get enough of our New Zealand Marron d’Or variety, which is superior in terms of shelf life, colour and taste,” said Mr Bostock.

Leaderbrand and Bostock New Zealand have introduced official Marron d’Or branding to export markets.

“We are pushing forward with marketing using social media, chefs and in-store promotions.

“We are differentiating ourselves from the low cost, bulk growing, packing and selling model, instead focusing on growing premium varieties and adding value in-market.”

Gisborne squash producer Leaderbrand and Hawke’s Bay growers Bostock New Zealand have entered into a partnership growing a new squash variety — Marron d’Or.

Last year Bostock stepped up supply of the new variety, a Kabocha squash hybrid, into the Chinese market, after an initial shipment in 2017 proved a major hit with consumers.

Leaderbrand and Bostock will produce Marron d’Or exclusively.

The squash industry had changed, said Leaderbrand chief executive Richard Burke. There was more focus from consumers on quality and taste.

“As growers we need to alter what we are doing so we need to develop programmes like Marron d’Or. “This variety is new and exciting and is already being snapped up in Asia,” Mr Burke said.

“We teamed up with Bostock New Zealand because like us, they are experienced in growing and a collaborative approach will be stronger.

“I think we can deliver together and we will have the scale to market this variety together,” he said.

“It is hard to grow squash well and get it right. It takes skills and experience and that is what both Leaderbrand and Bostock New Zealand have.”

Bostock New Zealand owner, John Bostock, said the two companies were “the heart” of New Zealand’s squash industry.

“So partnering to market and sell this new variety makes sense and is very exciting,” he said.

“We will be stronger together.”

There was big demand in China for Marron d’Or, “and we are stepping up our supply into the Chinese market, after last year’s initial shipment proved to be extremely popular with consumers”.

He said it was a Japanese variety that was not available in China.

“It has a sweet, nutty flavour which is really delicious. It stays green for quite a period, and does not decay as quickly as other squash varieties.

“I think the Chinese are very receptive to new cuisine and new taste and something foreign and exciting such as this.”

New Zealand squash volumes to China have been expanding at a rate of about 1.5 times every year, and very strong demand this year will see 2019 volumes more than double those of 2018.

“Chinese consumers cannot get enough of our New Zealand Marron d’Or variety, which is superior in terms of shelf life, colour and taste,” said Mr Bostock.

Leaderbrand and Bostock New Zealand have introduced official Marron d’Or branding to export markets.

“We are pushing forward with marketing using social media, chefs and in-store promotions.

“We are differentiating ourselves from the low cost, bulk growing, packing and selling model, instead focusing on growing premium varieties and adding value in-market.”

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