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Ready-to-eat kiwifruit is a niche market
Gap between kiwi seasons bodes well for European suppliersWith lower than expected New Zealand kiwi exports and a Chile export season that will likely be delayed, Europe's kiwi shippers are hoping to take advantage of the period between when New Zealand season ends and the Chilean season begins. We have been selling okay because it's been a short supply season, said Marc Peyres of Blue Whale in France. New Zealand finished early everywhere and Chile won't start early, so there's more space for European fruit.
While there's good demand and movement has been going along at a good pace because of a gap in the market, Peyres noted that there are still a few months left in the season, so they have to keep on their toes. I believe it's been one of the best seasons in the last 10 years as far as prices for growers, said Peyres. But we have to be careful until the end, because if we don't move enough volume until the end, then it's not very good. He stressed the importance of the local market and the need to move lots of fruit domestically in order to finish strong.
With regards to ready-to-eat kiwifruit, Marc notes that there is a niche market of top end retail, who is asking for that. However the main consumers just buy the kiwifruit in the supermarket and let it ripen in the fruit bowl. The disadvantage of ready-to-eat is that the consumer is forced to eat it within 1 or 2 days and may end up with throwing the fruit away.
Also a concern was the growing presence of PSA worldwide. While new techniques have made it easier to deal with the disease, it's just one of the concerns growers today have to deal with. It's still a battle, but we have to work at it, and if done properly, we can continue in spite of PSA, said Peyres. We feel better about the situation than we did a few years ago, but we still have to consider what comes next.
He feels that future solutions lie in new varieties, both because those new varieties could be disease-resistant and because they could offer new marketing opportunities. For that reason, he has good feelings about the new Sun Gold variety coming out of New Zealand. I have a feeling green kiwi consumption has stabilized, said Peyres. So further developing kiwi consumption will bring something new.
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