Blackcurrants
Blackcurrants in New Zealand

Blackcurrant plants thrive in New Zealand. New Zealand currently produces approximately 12,000 tonnes of blackcurrants annually and is now well known for producing the world’s highest quality blackcurrants.

Blackcurrant has proven its popularity within New Zealand and is now the biggest selling fruit for jams, juices, and yoghurts. Its popularity is still growing.

More recently blackcurrant products have been consumed not only as regular food and beverage, but also in teas and juice to maintain optimal health and help alleviate symptoms of diseases. The unique anthocyanin phyto-components in blackcurrants are well known for alleviating and preventing many different diseases and chronic illnesses.

Blackcurrants have been named “King of Berries” because they contain several times the concentration of Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Vitamins A, B, & C, other trace minerals, organic acids, and many more phenolics, than any other fruits.

The blackcurrants most attractive feature is its distinctive taste and aroma.Providing manufacturers with an opportunity to extend their brand range and stimulate demand for product lines.

New Zealand Cultivation

In agriculture, New Zealand is recognised as one of the most technologically developed countries in the world. New Zealand leads the world in the cultivation of everyday food such as vegetables, kiwifruits, apples and, berries. The highly developed technology used to grow these and other produce is also applied to blackcurrant cultivation.

The New Zealand blackcurrant industry is becoming a significant presence in the domestic and international market in terms of its varied development, enhanced flavours, and increased levels Vitamin C. Its significant presence is also due to the fruit’s resistance to pests and disease and its potential for commercial markets. New Zealand leads the world in environmentally friendly controls for the integrated management of blackcurrant pests and diseases.

In the nutritional analysis carried out by the Crop and Food Research Institute (NZ government research centre), New Zealand blackcurrants were found to have higher contents of anthocyanins and other phytochemicals, than was found in blackcurrant grown in other countries. Dr. Caloryn Lister of the New Zealand Crop and Food Institute Ltd. showed that anthocyanin content is 250-500mg per 100g (average) in European blackcurrant and 570mg per 100g (average) in New Zealand blackcurrant. In addition, the New Zealand blackcurrant variety 'Ben Ard' contains more than 700mg/100g.

The clean, unpolluted air, and intense, natural sunlight found in New Zealand help to produce the best blackcurrants in the world. With increased sunlight the plants make more of the nutrients produced during photosynthesis. Also produced during this process are natural compounds, such as anthocyanin, which protect the plant from harsh ultra violet light.