The global kiwi market is experiencing various dynamics and challenges across different regions. In the Netherlands, importers are facing a limited supply of kiwis, particularly from Chile, leading to concerns of ongoing shortages and impacted quality. In Belgium, the demand for kiwis has returned to normal levels after the peak in consumption during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, there are fears of potential shortages due to lower volumes expected this season. In Germany, despite high prices, there is still a high demand for kiwis, with Italian and New Zealand varieties gaining popularity. France, on the other hand, is facing a shortage of kiwifruits due to adverse weather conditions affecting production in important regions. Italy also experienced low volumes and high prices in its kiwi market, with concerns about the upcoming season due to natural disasters affecting flowering and pollination.
In Spain, the Asturias region is investing in kiwi cultivation, while overall prices have been maintained or increased compared to the previous campaign.
Finally, in India, Greek kiwis have had the most successful season ever, surpassing Italian varieties in popularity and becoming the fastest-growing market for Greek exporters. The global kiwi supply to North America remains steady, despite challenges faced during the New Zealand growing season, and demand for kiwis continues to be strong, making it the fastest-growing segment in the fruit market.
Netherlands: Limited supply of kiwis available
Apart from the Zespri crop, remarkably few Dutch importers are active in kiwi imports. Importers indicate that there is currently a shortage of Chilean kiwis on the market and that supply will remain limited in the coming weeks as well. Prices are therefore at a good level. However, quality is not satisfactory in all cases.
Belgium: Demand for kiwis returns to normal after Covid highs
"Since the beginning of May, the New Zealand season has started again. After a difficult 2022 season, the new harvest is showing good quality," a Belgian trader says. "However, lower volumes are expected, which leads to fears that shortages could occur during the season." Zespri also fears that harvest estimates for this season will be even lower due to climatic problems in April in New Zealand. This could have a major impact in green kiwifruit in particular.
"On the demand side, kiwis will always remain a popular product. They are very healthy and as long as the quality is good, consumers will keep coming back for them. However, it is no longer at the level of during Covid. Back then, there was a real 'run' on the fruit, but we have dropped back to normal demand. Especially now that the weather is also heading in the warmer direction and consumers are more likely to reach for the kiwi, however, it remains to be seen what prices will do over the summer."
Germany: High demand for kiwi undeterred by high prices
The late kiwis from Italy found eager sales in May, reports a wholesaler. The first Zespri kiwis from New Zealand were also offered in early May: Despite high wholesale prices and smaller calibres (37) at the beginning of the season, demand was relatively high. The first larger calibres as well as green kiwis also arrived from New Zealand at the end of May.
A glance at the current price table shows that kiwis are significantly more expensive across the board than last year, making them no exception given inflation and the prices of other import fruits. Only small sizes of Italian kiwis (36/39) are cheaper compared to last year. Besides New Zealand and Italy, Greece and France are still on the market. Chilean kiwis, on the other hand, have already disappeared from supply, unlike last year.
France: A shortage of kiwifruit on the market
This year, the weather has had a severe impact on kiwi production, leading to a bad season. The most important production regions suffered from heavy rainfall. "Italy has lost almost 40% of its production, and the damage is so severe that many of the kiwifruit plants have died," according to one market operator. There is also a shortage of product in Chile, also due to the climate. Spain has lost 20% of its production. Most sellers are therefore going to Greece for kiwifruit. ”France has not been affected, but with this global situation, we will not be able to supply additional customers.” Because of this situation, prices are likely to be very high.
Italy: Low volumes and high prices characterise kiwi market
In Italy, the European kiwifruit market has been over since mid-May. A trader from Northern Italy says that available volumes were low, so demand easily absorbed all production, and prices were high. In addition to Italian kiwifruit, there was also Greek kiwifruit at the same high prices. Currently Chilean kiwifruit is on the market, and the first batches of New Zealand kiwifruit are arriving. Supply is limited and in proportion to the medium-low demand, with sustained prices. "Looking ahead, the next Italian 2023/24 campaign is likely to have a quantity of product lower than its potential, as in several production areas there have been natural disasters that have negatively affected flowering and pollination," stresses the operator.
Regarding consumption at this time of year, an operator from the retail sector says: "Handling in supermarkets is medium to high, considering that we are in the month of June. We are now selling conventional green kiwifruit from Chile, which has medium-high prices. The Italian product has been finished for a few weeks now."
According to GfK Consumer Panel data, kiwifruit was bought by 48% of Italian households in the year ending April 2023. This figure is slightly down when compared to the same period last year (49%).
Spain: Asturias region invests in kiwi cultivation
The Spanish kiwi campaign has developed positively. There has been a little less production than the previous year, but the harvest of the approximately 1,800 hectares planted in the national territory is expected to be around 27,000 tons. Regarding prices, they have been maintained and have even risen compared to the previous campaign.
“It is true that marketing began slowly in January and February, at the beginning of the campaign, due to the drop in consumption and inflation; but these last 3 months, sales have gone very well for both green and yellow kiwis.”
“This season there have also been other external factors that have favoured it. On the one hand, Chile had less production and the prices at origin were very high, so the market was somewhat repressed at these prices and in general it has been more liberal. On the other hand, New Zealand is also having a smaller harvest; it is estimated that the green kiwi will produce around 50,000 tons less, and the fall in the production of yellow kiwi will also be high.”
"In addition, the New Zealand kiwi has arrived later on the market, so the lower volumes and this delay have meant that there has not been a dramatic change from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere, and work has continued with the Spanish kiwi while the Chilean and New Zealand kiwi was entering.”
Asturias is the second largest kiwi-producing region in Spain, second only to Galicia, and the latest developments in the Asturian industry point in a clear direction. "While in Galicia there is a great commitment to green kiwis, in general in Asturias all the new planting projects that are being carried out are for yellow kiwis."
"What's more: of the almost 1,800 hectares of kiwi in Spain, only about 120 are yellow kiwi, and for this year in Asturias more than 60 new hectares will be planted."
India: Most successful ever season for Greek kiwis in India
It’s been a solid season for Greek kiwifruit in the Indian market, according to an Indian fruit importer. “The Greek kiwi has proven to be the most important origin for the Indian consumer. As per the data of April 2023, the Greek kiwi took the second place in terms of imported volumes, right after the New Zealand Zespri Kiwi, with the import of 350 metric tons of just Hayward kiwis.
"For Greece, India appeared to be the fastest growing market and Greek kiwis are more appreciated here compared to the Italian kiwis. The season of 2022/2023 is the most successful season Greece has ever seen in the Indian market. I believe, looking at this success, Greece will keep the focus on the Indian market for the next season as well. We’re playing a very important role in the strategy of Greek kiwi exporters.”
The Greek kiwi has emerged as a vital player in the preferences of Indian consumers, over Italian kiwis. India has notably become the fastest-growing market for Greek kiwifruit, for a number of reasons. Firstly, Indian authorities have heightened their interception of kiwifruit from Iran, which is prohibited in the country. The importer believes that Iran's kiwifruit failed to meet the plant and quarantine test requirements.
However, it wasn't the sole reason for the increased popularity of Greek kiwis. Despite the ban on Iranian imports for the past two seasons, certain Indian importers resorted to smuggling the fruit by misdeclaring it through customs, often via intermediary destinations like Dubai. However, a breakthrough occurred last season when drugs were discovered in a South African orange shipment, prompting Indian intelligence agencies to intensify interception efforts on Iranian kiwi shipments. This turn of events created an opportunity for Greek exporters to boost their kiwifruit exports to India.
The Greek kiwi had to compete with Italian kiwi as well, but according to the importer both volumes and quality were better in Greece: “After the ban for Iranian kiwi imports came into force, India’s alternate options were Greece and Italy. Greece had the most successful season in terms of quality, and had the volumes that India requires. On top of that, prices were very reasonable. I believe that if Greece keeps up its quality and has stable prices to export to India, our market will never require Iranian kiwi in the future.”
Morocco: Record high import of kiwifruit in first quarter of 2023
Morocco's appetite for kiwifruits is skyrocketing, with the fruit's unique flavor captivating the nation. According to EastFruit, the country's kiwifruit imports continue to soar, solidifying their position among the top five imported fruits in Morocco.
Moroccan growers cultivate a wide range of fruits and vegetables, including kiwifruits. These versatile fruits adapt well to Morocco's climate and are even exported. However, the export volumes remain relatively low, amounting to just 196 tonnes in 2022 and 43 tonnes in Q1 2023. In contrast, kiwifruit imports have experienced consistent growth year after year.
Five years ago, Morocco imported a mere 4,500 tonnes of kiwifruits. However, by 2022, this figure had more than doubled, reaching 10,400 tonnes. The import volumes expanded by 2.2 times, with a total value surpassing $9 million in 2022.
The trend of increasing kiwifruit imports in Morocco has continued into 2023. In the first quarter alone, imports reached an impressive 4,800 tonnes. It is worth considering the seasonal nature of these imports, which typically peak between February and April. Nonetheless, the imports recorded during January to March 2023 reached a seven-year high, demonstrating the nation's growing appetite for kiwifruits.
Morocco imports kiwifruits from various countries, including Italy, Greece, Portugal, France, Spain, Chile, and even New Zealand, the leading global exporter. Italy and Greece held the position of the largest kiwifruit suppliers to Morocco in 2017, and after five years, Italy has been joined by Spain. Italy's commanding share of 57% in Morocco's total kiwifruit imports during January to March suggests it has a strong chance of maintaining its leading position throughout 2023.
South Africa: High prices for kiwis due to low supply
The last container with European kiwis arrived last week in South Africa which was actually very late for the last imported kiwis, notes a kiwi importer.
The New Zealand season is running a bit late and NZ kiwis are only expected to be available to South African consumers in the first week of July.
“There is currently very high demand for kiwis in the South African market and it sells for between R56 (2.7 euros) to R63 (3.07 euros) per kg,” a trader says, “which are among some of the highest prices ever because supply is so low.”
There is domestically grown Hayward available where prices are so good that they are not exported.
The golden kiwi harvest is over, basically all of it for export.
”There’s a worldwide demand because New Zealand’s volumes are lower. South Africa’s gold kiwi exports are doing well - there is definitely a place in the transition between European and New Zealand gold kiwis, and South Africa falls perfectly into the slot.”
North America: North American kiwi supplies steady even with New Zealand weather events
Supplies of kiwi fruit in North America continue to be steady. “We have had a challenging New Zealand growing season this year because of various weather events putting pressure on supply globally. However the U.S. has been able to hold almost steady with its supply and we’re excited to gear up for another season,” says one shipper, who adds that the kiwi season in North America is set to run through October.
Chilean kiwis are also shipping to North America with more than 8,000 tons shipped there through Week 20 and similar volumes to those of 2022 are expected from Chile in North America this season.
As for demand for the fruit, it’s still strong. “Kiwifruit ranks as the #1 fastest-growing segment in the fruit bowl, outpacing total fruit by 11 points,” says the shipper.
Next week: Global Market Overview Nectarines, Peaches, and Paraguayos