It’s not often a business celebrating 120 years of operating can say it’s still fresh to the core but for one of New Zealand’s largest fresh produce growers the proof lies in the eating!
Turners and Growers was founded in 1897, changing its name to T&G Global in 2014 to reflect its growing global footprint. Innovation has continued with the company launching New Zealand’s first lower carb potato (Lotatoes) this month, and revolutionising the tomato category with its bite-sized Beekist and Ruby’s brands. Earlier this year T&G’s Envy apple was named the favourite of Americans and this month marks 58 years since former chairman Jack Turner coined the name ‘Kiwifruit’, starting a billion-dollar export industry for New Zealand.
This week T&G will mark its 120-year milestone with New Zealand generational growers, customers, suppliers and staff, many of whom have worked for T&G for decades – including one who has worked for T&G for 63 years.
A big focus of the celebration will be on fresh food with Karena and Kasey Bird (Masterchef New Zealand winners 2014) creating a mouth-watering menu showcasing the best of T&G’s,and New Zealand’s, produce.
On the menu are fruit and vegetables from some of the 1000 growers T&G works with plus produce from the substantial volume T&G grows including Jazz apples and Satsuma mandarins.
The secret to T&G’s longevity and success? The company says keeping fruit and vegetables consistently fresh, responding to changing consumer needs and adhering to its original business philosophy, as set down by founder Edward Turner who said; “Our industry is vital for healthy living and is essential to mankind and does no one any harm.”
Alastair Hulbert, T&G Global CEO says, “Edward Turner was certainly ahead of his time in many ways, establishing a flourishing fruit and flower business on K Road in Auckland in 1897 with the support of his nine sons. Fast forward to 2017 and T&G has a footprint the length and breadth of New Zealand plus 12 offices offshore delivering the best of New Zealand to kiwis, and the world, and importing what is needed to provide people with fresh produce every day, everywhere.
“And in an age where obesity and heart disease are rampant, I’m proud T&G provides people with healthy food options,” adds Alistair. “We’re passionate about what we’re doing and possibly one of the many reasons we continue to grow 120 years after our first seed was grown.”
Andrew Keaney, executive general manager, New Zealand at T&G Global continues, “We’re a champion for over 1000 local growers and are growers ourselves. We understand the challenges growers face and believe consumers have a right to know where their produce is grown. As an industry, we need to remain focused on this alongside biosecurity, sustainability and food safety – all aspects of business we take very seriously.”
Employing 1300 people across New Zealand and 200 overseas, T&G also recruits around 2000 seasonal workers each year and is on target to achieve $2 billion in revenue by 2020.
T&G is also the country’s biggest exporter of fresh fruit and vegetables. Total New Zealand horticulture products recently exceeded $8 billion for the first-time outdoing wine exports and making the industry’s target of $10 billion by 2020 a reality.