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New Technology Key in Securing Export Deal For Avocado Growers

( The Kiwi avocado industry has secured a multi-million dollar export deal with Japan thanks to its new food processing technology.

The food preserving technology, introduced earlier this year, dramatically extends the shelf life of avocados without the use of any chemicals or other additives.

The Ultra High Pressure (UHP) processing technology, which is also known as cold pasteurization, uses pressures of up to 87,000 psi to shock and kill bacteria in food products.

Kiwi owned Fressure Foods, a grower-owned company, imported the technology last year, establishing its plant in Pukekohe and creating 40 jobs.

Fressure Foods CEO, Vern Dark, says with its ability to extend the shelf-life of avocados and deliver them in a convenient ready to use pack the industry is capable of boosting the country’s annual exports by 20 million dollars.

“Avocados usually last around 30 days but now we’re able to extend this to 60 days. We imagine this extended shelf life will open many new markets. With this technology we are able to add significant value to a commodity product which was too perishable for some of the countries we wanted to export to.”

One of the first products to receive the UHP treatment is the Fressure Foods Guacamole with significant orders being delivered to Japan and Singapore. Export negotiations are also well advanced in Australia and the products have recently launched in New Zealand supermarkets.

Dark says ultra high pressure treatment has driven up total consumption of avocados in the United States, something he is hoping will be repeated here.

“The avocados used in making products like the guacamole are surplus supply which could not be absorbed by the local market. In the past, surplus avocados have often been sold at a loss, now there is an export home for excess supply so local markets will strengthen and the entire industry will be better off,” says Dark.

Dark says the UHP system uses no chemicals or preservatives and does not affect the texture, flavour, consistency or nutrients in food and could be utilised for a number of other New Zealand grown fruit and vegetables along with meats.

An environmentally friendly process, the UHP system does not cause emissions and uses less energy than thermal pasteurisation, he says.

Dark says Fressure Foods’ is currently looking for additional funds from its investors to sustain the progress made to date and support its anticipated rapid export led growth.

Media Release 13 June 2011.



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