Grower-owned co-operative, Market Gardeners Ltd trading as MG Marketing was established in 1923 by a small band of resolute growers to leverage greater value for their produce. It was from these humble beginnings that the foundations were laid for a successful co-operative that values the benefits of shared knowledge and collective capability. Today, MG represents more than 400 grower shareholders and is a leading supplier of fresh produce.
MG Marketing – known simply as MG – was set up as a co-operative to provide mutual support for participating grower-shareholders and to this day retains the same ownership structure.
MG joined the NZ Cooperatives Association (now Cooperative Business NZ) over 20 years ago to gain the support, recognition and co-operative representation in all walks of life.
Chief Executive, Peter Hendry, pictured, says MG’s long history of success is due to the strength of its growers and their vision to realise the significance of working together.
“MG takes great pride in the level of satisfaction our growers gain from the way we deliver procurement, marketing, forecasting, sales and distribution services. We are more than a link in the chain, we’re the marketing arm of the growers we work with,” he says.
From its original warehouse and auction room in Wellington, MG has grown to encompass trading operations and subsidiaries in New Zealand, Australia and North America. It also imports and exports fresh produce between these and other countries around the Pacific rim and further afield.
“Initial expansion resulted from growers in other parts of NZ joining the co-operative to access local markets.
“Over the years, we’ve built an extensive branch network throughout the country that gives us the national strength to sell and distribute across the country. Other key parts of our business are the national ripening facilities and a support office in Christchurch.”
MG expanded its operations in Australia in 2005 by acquiring the LaManna Group of Companies, which, later merged with Premier Fruits Group – to become LaManna Premier Group.
“We also run an office in California, USA, to source produce from across North America,” says Mr Hendry
“We’ve invested significantly in warehousing, packaging and product development to ensure produce quality meets consumer expectations. Our links with domestic and offshore growers mean that buyers today can purchase virtually all lines of fresh fruit or vegetables, all year round.”
MG’s eight-member board is chaired by Christchurch-based Bruce Irvine, pictured.
His fellow shareholder-appointed grower directors include Andrew Fenton, Alan Franklin, Lynn Crozier, Alan Thompson, Mike Russell and Mark O’Connor.
The remaining member of the board is Special Director Trevor Burt.
“MG ensures we have the best and most skillful people in the most critical positions,” Mr Hendry added.
“However, of even more importance is the way the group of individuals work together as a team with a shared passion to deliver great results for our growers and customers.”
MG delivers a grower to customer distribution chain that is based on accurate and timely information, cost-efficiency and an ability to adapt to market conditions. With strong supply systems, distribution networks and marketing alliances in place, the co-operative is well placed to play an essential role in global fresh produce sales for years to come.