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On Thursday the 10th of November Pure Advantage met with a unique mix of Hawkes Bay wine and food producers, regional council and Iwi to discuss a proposition with a great significance to New Zealand’s role as a food and beverage provider to overseas markets.

Hawkes Bay has long been known as the ‘Fruit Bowl of New Zealand’ while selling its produce into many corners of the international market -from Europe to the US, Japan and China.  As these markets have increased Hawkes Bay growers have seen firsthand how the premium standard of their product has insured their continued success.

Their discussion with Pure Advantage covered issues from the popularity of their GE Free position, food security, the role of regional councils in legislation and the opportunity Hawkes Bay has to lead New Zealand in terms of a green, collaborative – or ‘basket approach’ – of food producers and business organisations.

There are a number of features of the environment that make this special area of New Zealand so unique. These include the diurnal temperature range (warm days and cold nights), the quality of the soil, minimal chemical use, a large natural water aquifer underneath the Heretaunga plains and the intensity of UV light. These factors, combined with the commitment of its many producers, may soon lead to a standardization of horticultural practices in Hawkes Bay with far-reaching impact.

In the same way that produce from Champagne or Bordeaux are recognized as having a distinct and valuable provenance, produce from Hawkes Bay could soon be recognized as having just as distinct an origin story – though with more emphasis being placed on the ‘green’ nature of its particular brand.  As concerns about buying healthy and sustainably-grown food increase amongst a variety of overseas consumers, from the Chinese Government to Whole Foods in the US, this particular region is well positioned to establish industry leading practice to capture a larger part of these markets.

Last week’s meeting between Geoff Ross of Pure Advantage and a number of leading growers and concerned parties focused on the standards that would need to be set, the goals for the area and how these criteria could be communicated to customers and visitors. The panel for the gathering was diverse and the discussion passionate. While the details are still being worked out and the aims still being formalized, it was a highly productive meeting that could see Hawkes Bay soon being labeled one of the greenest ‘fruitbowls’ of the world, securing their position with one the highest quality appellations in a highly competitive global market.

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