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New Zealand: Feijoas expand to UAEThough feijoas have been enjoyed in New Zealand for many years, the short shelf-life of the fruit has prevented it from penetrating export markets. But growers in New Zealand are hoping that their air-freight fruit finds a receptive market in the UAE.
The fruit is relatively unknown outside its cultivation areas, and though those who have grown up on the fruit love it, not much is known about it in foreign markets. Todd Abrahams, managing director at Pole to Pole Fresh, a Kiwi exporter and packer of feijoas representing many NZ Feijoa growers, believes good execution of shipping logistics can change that situation.
"At this stage, expat Kiwis are our main target market," he says, "but we also aim to introduce feijoas to new cultures. We sent a small amount to Spinneys, a premium supermarket chain in the UAE, and the customer reaction to the product was extremely positive, especially since many customers had never heard of feijoas before."
He notes that the short shelf-life of the fruit, two weeks in a temperature-controlled environment, means fruit is delivered via air-freight. Because it has to be delivered so quickly, all fruit is sold fresh. That fresh flavor, which most closely resembles a guava, is distinct and so flavorful that it hooks everyone who tries it.
"Many Kiwis will tell you stories of their childhood where they overindulged in feijoas, and I've even read travel blogs where people plan their trip to New Zealand to coincide with feijoa season,” he says.
The season in New Zealand starts in mid-March and continues through June. Yearly production stands at 1,200 tons, about half of which goes to the fresh market, and Abrahams hopes foreign markets will buy supplies of the fruit which have outpaced local demand. He's confident the UAE will be receptive.
“From my visits to Dubai, I can see that consumers are given a lot of choices,” and more importantly, he adds, “they also purchased a lot of imported fruit.”
For more information:
POLE TO POLE FRESH
Publication date: 4/2/2012
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