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t’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 suppliers the proof lies in the eating! Over 200
past and present employees, growers, and associated supporters
gathered at the company’s Mt Wellington headquarters on June 20 to
commemorate the establishment of T&G 120 years ago, and its major
role in the history of New Zealand food.
Tur ners and Growers was founded in 1897, changing its name to
T&G Global just three years ago 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 favour ite of Americans and this
month marks 58 years since for mer chairman Jack Turner coined the name
‘Kiwifruit’, starting a billion-dollar export industry for New Zealand.
A big focus of the celebration was on fresh food with Karena and Kasey
Bird (Masterchef New Zealand winners 2014) creating a mouth-water ing
menu showcasing the best of T&G’s,and New Zealand’s, produce.
On the menu were 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 mandar ins.
The secret to T&G’s longevity and success? The company says
keeping fruit and vegetables consistently fresh, responding to changing
consumer needs and adher ing to its or iginal business philosophy, as set
down by founder Edward Tur ner who said; “Our industry is vital for
healthy living and is essential to mankind and does no one any har m.”
Alastair Hulbert, T&G Global CEO said: “Edward Tur ner was
certainly ahead of his time in many ways, establishing a flour ishing 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, deliver ing
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,” added 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 r ight to know where their produce is grown.
As an industry, we need to remain focused on this alongside biosecur ity,
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. n
MASTERCHEFS' FRESH INSPIRATION
It’s been three years since Karena and
Kasey Bird won Masterchef New Zealand,
the first for a duo anywhere in the world.
Fast-forward to 2017 and sisters are now
award-winning book publishers, authors and
television hosts of their new cooking and
Karena and Kasey hail from a small Bay
of Plenty coastal village, Maketu, with a
population of just over 900 people. It was
there they learned the values of fresh
produce and first celebrated traditional
Mõori recipes that take advantage of
nature’s bounty. The sisters believe cooking
is all about impressing those you love with
tasty recipes using simple ingredients and
celebrating New Zealand’s unique culture
with whanau and friends.
That philosophy will be abundantly obvious
in the special menu the sisters have created
for T&G’s ‘120 years fresh’ celebration at its
Mt Wellington market site in Auckland on 20
June. The duo were also front of house for
the milestone acting as Masters of Ceremony
and introducing the evening guests’ speakers
T&G CEO Alastair Hulbert, T&G chairman,
Professor Klauz Lutz, T&G’s executive
general manager, New Zealand Andrew
Keaney, and Hon Louise Upston, Associate
Minister for Primary Industries.
Around 200 customers, growers,
suppliers, media and staff will enjoy food
created by Kasey and Karena but delivered
by The Great Catering Company. The menu
will showcase some of the best produce from
T&G and the 1000 growers the T&G New
Zealand team works alongside every day.
On the menu are smoked beetroot
with feta and basil canapés alongside
seared beef with truffle mascarpone with
caramelised onions on toasted brioche;
mushroom stuffed potatoes with truffle
oil; miso caramel eggplant; pork belly with
creamed watercress; smoked salmon with
pickled ginger crème fraiche and soy pearls;
assorted vegetables with herb sauce and
edible soil and pumpkin Tortellini. Sliders
of beef and blue cheese plus crispy Korean
chicken sliders will also be enjoyed before
fresh fruit with chocolate fondue; tiny apple
tarte Tatin and lemon meringue tarts.
The New Zealand produce theme extends
to cocktails on the night with an alcohol-
based apple based beverage cheekily named
‘Pipped at the Post’ and an alcohol-free
cocktail with Sunfirst lemons, orange
sherbert, Satsuma mandarin juice and soda
garnished with fresh basil.
Karen and Kasey say they’re thrilled to
have been asked to create a menu for T&G
given its long-standing association with fresh
food. They themselves worked in the kiwifruit
industry as students and have a genuine
appreciation of what it takes to get fresh
produce from the ground to market.
“We love New Zealand food and being able
to create a special menu for T&G’s 120th
celebration enabled us to bring our passion
for showcasing the best of New Zealand fresh
Freshly grown seasonal produce – a winner both
domestically and internationally for T&G.
Hospitality BUSINESS | July 2017 | 35
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