Andrew Darling - Darling Group

"“We are taking Australasia’s finest fresh produce to the world"

Darling Group was formed to represent long-established Bay of Plenty-based fresh produce businesses, Just Avocados and Global Fresh New Zealand, and Australian based Global Fresh Australia and J.H. Leavy & Co.

Darling Group Managing Director Andrew Darling says, “We needed a brand that connected all of our businesses, something that represented the family owned aspect, and also our personality.”

Family. Fresh. Fun. is the tagline of the 100% family owned Group who are involved in a number of fresh produce lines, predominantly in New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

“We are taking Australasia’s finest fresh produce to the world and we are striving for excellence in all areas related to this; our quality, our capability, our relationships and in our returns to growers.”

At the growing end, the Group owns and manages a number of orchards in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, growing kiwifruit, avocados and now blueberries. Andrew said that they were already marketing blueberries in Australia and a New Zealand supply would add to that.

Darling Group also has a 42.5% share in New Zealand domestic produce wholesaler, Zeafruit.

As a fully-integrated business, Darling Group is involved in growing, packing, exporting, international sales & marketing, as well as logistics and distribution. With this capability, the businesses within Darling Group are well positioned for significant growth.

Currently the third largest avocado exporting company in New Zealand, Darling Group’s avocado specialist company, Just Avocados, is investing in new facilities and also expertise, which will support the technical needs of their grower base.

“Supporting our growers’ success is a key focus and we are employing high performing, experienced and capable people, who are focussed on doing things better and differently – we are challenging ourselves for constant improvement.”

Darling, involved in the horticulture industry for over thirty years in various ownership and management roles, has also held a number of industry leadership and Governance roles and is currently Chair of the Avocado Exporters Council and is a Director on the Board of the Avocado Industry Council Ltd.

“Avocados are a particular passion of the Darling Group and our level of integration through the supply chain has been born of the desire to control the costs and operate more efficiently.

“We formed Global Fresh Australia so that we could have people in Australia on the ground representing our growers’ avocados and kiwifruit - giving us the ability to extract the best possible value for growers.”

Just Avocados and Global Fresh were part of the JACE group of companies until 2015 when interest in this group was sold. Just Avocados and Global Fresh NZ and AU were retained in the settlement. In July 2016, the group acquired Brisbane-based, 105 year old, produce wholesale, distribution and logistics business, J.H. Leavy & Co.

J.H. Leavy & Co. with its AU$50 million turnover per year and state-of-the-art storage and ripening facilities, has significantly enhanced the Darling Group’s scale and opportunities.

“Purchasing J.H. Leavy & Co. has opened the door to 26 million people in Australia which in turn also opens the door to the USA and Asia, both for supply and marketing of a much broader range of produce - we have the ability to become a more serious and significant player in Australasia.”

The future for Darling Group is ongoing diversification of product range and an expansion of global sourcing, importing and exporting initiatives.
There is also further investment in production planned to support the post-harvest and marketing businesses.

For more information:
Midge Munro
The Darling Group
Tel: +64 27 306 7089
Twitter: @Midge_Munro

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