The big, red, premium Envy apples developed and produced by T&G Global had a record season with a 23 percent increase in international sales, generating more than a billion dollars of sales this year, with plenty of growth ahead.
"Globally, there's incredible appetite for Envy," T&G chief executive Gareth Edgecombe said.
The company was producing about five million 18kg boxes of apples a year, but expected to be producing 15 million boxes a year within three to four years as established orchards mature.
Edgecombe said the apple had two main attributes, which attracted prices between 25 and 50 percent over other types such as a Gala, Red Delicious or Granny Smith.
"It grows really well for growers, so there's really strong profitability that comes out of the ground operations from it, but most importantly, it's also a fantastic apple from an eating perspective. Consumers' feedback is that it's sweet, crunchy, crispy and just a really great experience."
The company, formerly known as Turners & Growers, shipped 1.9m tray cartons of Envy apples to United States, China and Asia, this past year.
"Envy is one of the real success stories in New Zealand's horticultural sector," he said, adding the apples were grown under licence in 13 countries and sold to consumers in over 60 countries in the 12 years since the product was first launched.
"It's a great example of New Zealand intellectual property to the world, where we can take what has been developed in New Zealand, protect it, and then scale it up at large scale both here in New Zealand and offshore.
"I think it's really great for New Zealand to celebrate, and we need to do more about across the economy."
He said the Envy apple was not as well known in New Zealand, because most of the produce was sold overseas and local consumers preferred a sweet and slightly tart apple, such as Jazz.
"In 2019 [Envy] was voted the number one apple for taste, appearance and texture by consumers in the USA," Edgecombe said.
The apple was developed by T&G's partners at Plant and Food Research in 2008 and is a cross between Royal Gala and Braeburn known as a Scilate variety.
Edgecombe said the company had a pipeline of new varieties of apple in various stages of development.