Sunday, August 14, 2022

Aus takes strawberry growing to new heights – and colours

In an industry-first, Pink and White strawberries are like nothing else on Aussie retail shelves.
The new Australian-grown varieties are said to have a rich aroma and sweet flavour. Photo: Supplied

When you imagine a juicy, fresh strawberry bursting with flavour, the colours pink and white are probably the furthest from your mind.

Well, that could soon change as Australia gets ready to launch two new home-grown strawberry varieties, Pink and White, which will soon be available to Australian growers and consumers after Hort Innovation put the call out for a commercial partner to fast-track the products to market.

Hort Innovation chief executive Brett Fifield said both varieties have an intense strawberry aroma and an unusual appearance that is expected to appeal to consumers. They have been specially bred for the Australian environment and offer superior overall quality.

“Pink and White strawberries are like nothing else on Aussie retail shelves,” Fifield said. “They’re exceptional, and so they should be. They are the culmination of years of research, field trials, consumer preference testing and industry engagement.”

The new White strawberries are true to their name. On the inside, they are brilliant white, but on the outside, they are white with a pale pink blush and speckled with red seeds, while the Pink strawberries have a peach-pink exterior and also feature a white inside. Both have a rich aroma and are sweet in flavour.

BerryQuest host Berries Australia executive director Rachel Mackenzie said new varieties are the way of the future for the strawberry industry and support growing domestic and export demand.

“It’s really exciting to see these new varieties reach this stage in the commercialisation process – “this is growers’ levy funding coming to life before our eyes,” she said. 

According to the Horticulture Statistics Handbook, in 2020-21, 77,751 tonnes of strawberries were produced at a value of $417.2 million. Eighty-eight percent of this domestic production was supplied to the fresh market, 7% (5417 tonnes) was processed predominantly into preserves and 5% (3578 tonnes) was exported.

Hort Innovation and DAF QLD are now seeking a suitable partner to commercialise the new varieties, foster grower adoption and deliver marketing efforts to support consumer awareness. The new strawberries are the first ‘novelty’ varieties to be developed and commercialised through the Hort Innovation DAF QLD partnership and Expressions of Interest will open soon.

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