New varieties of apples are making their way into Australian households as a result of the long term relationship between Australian owned family business Montague Fresh and Woolworths.
Founded in 1948, Montague has grown to be one of the largest growers, procurers, packers, distributors and marketers of apples, pears and stonefruit in Australia, employing more than 500 people.
In 2010, after investing nearly 15 years of time and effort, Montague introduced the Jazz™ apple brand to Australian consumers, and the company is now in the process of bringing another new apple variety to market.
“Our program of variety development has only been made possible with the support and long-term investment that comes from working very closely with Woolworths, said Scott Montague, a Director of Montague and its National Business Manager Sales and Procurement.
“We are currently in an exciting phase of bringing a new variety to market and we’re looking forward to sharing that with consumers when the time comes.
The company owns and operates apple orchards in Batlow in New South Wales, Harcourt and Narre Warren North in Victoria and Legana in Tasmania, as well as a stonefruit orchard in Swan Hill in Victoria.
Montague has been supplying Woolworths for 46 years and has been the recipient of three Woolworths Supplier of the Year Awards.
Scott said his company was proud of its reputation as innovative and forward thinking, and it was their relationship with Woolworths which had allowed them to research new fruit varieties to bring to the Australian market.
“Montague has a very valuable relationship with Woolworths, and it’s certainly a two-way street in terms of investment and support, Scott said.
“The introduction of the Jazz™ apple brand gave Australian consumers a reason to get excited and has reignited their interest in the apple category.
“It’s also a great opportunity for marketers and retailers to educate consumers on different varieties, origins and their qualities. With a great apple like Jazz™, growers and consumers alike are assured that their product will be of a high quality and in demand on the Woolworths’ shelves.
Woolworths’ National Manager for Produce, Paul Harker, said Woolworths’ relationship with Montague had meant there was a solid foundation to support innovation and further investment when it comes to Australian grown fruit and vegetables.
“We were very keen to support Montague as they pursued opportunities to research new varieties in apples, as well as pears and stonefruit, to bring to the Australian market, Paul said.
“The introduction of the Jazz™ apple has been very successful and it will undoubtedly continue to grow in popularity as consumers take advantage of the additional choice of Australian grown fruit available in our stores.
“Woolworths is proud that 96% of its fresh fruit and vegetables come from our own back yard. It’s exciting to be working with Australian owned companies like Montague who are clearly focused on providing consumers with a better eating experience, whether that is through the introduction of new varieties or quality assurance measures.
The best quality apples
Montague is not only delivering exciting new products to Australian consumers through Woolworths stores but they are also ensuring that consumers receive the best quality fruit every day through Woolworths’ stringent quality assurance requirements.
“We have recently invested in photographic and infrared sorting technology to check the both external and internal qualities of every piece of fruit grown and packed by Montague, Scott said.
“We also continually inspect our fruit; from the orchard, to the packhouse and through a final inspection before it’s delivered to a Woolworths Distribution Centre across the country.
Scott said the relationship with Woolworths was one they looked forward to continuing for years to come.
“The growth of our business over the decades can certainly be attributed to our strong relationship with Woolworths and I’ve no doubt this will only get better, he said.
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