MG is celebrating a business association with Dole spanning 25 years this November.
Over 27 years ago imports were regulated into New Zealand and controlled through Fruit Distributors Limited (FDL), which MG held shares in. MG’s ability to grow and profitably market imported fruit and vegetables was extremely hampered by the controls imposed by FDL and the recent arrival of Chiquita bananas, following deregulation in 1991.
By September 1993 MG’s position had become untenable and so severed their ties with FDL, establishing a supply agreement with the Dole Food Company. MG were now independent and able to supply customers the length of the country – this commenced one of the enduring import supply relationships in this market.
The first shipment of Dole bananas and pineapples arrived into Wellington on the Yoshino Reefer, November 1993. At this stage MG held a 16.7% share of the banana import trade, today the partnership is the leading importer holding over 40% share.
Dole also supply a range of other tropical fruit and vegetable lines, of most significance is the consumer favourite ‘Tropical Gold’ branded pineapple.
In early 1995 Dole Food Company purchased Chiquita Brands New Zealand Ltd (Chiquita), following a long period of deflated banana prices and losses for the supplying companies. This cumulated in the formation of the Partnership Agreement which stands today – MG acquired the former Chiquita business from Dole and all the banana ripening assets were consolidated into a joint venture ripening partnership.
During the partnership there have been many challenging periods – the relationship has succeeded through its ability to work together and adapt to changing market conditions. Some things don’t change, however, and Dole remain focused on delivering a high-quality product to New Zealand consumers on a consistent basis.
Today Dole is the largest selling proprietary brand in the New Zealand market. Dole have been true innovators, the Bobby banana prepack and a sweeter tasting pineapple variety being notable examples.
MG is proud of its association with Dole and the important role the supply and brand plays in our ability to be a leading provider of quality produce and service to our customers and consumers.