To meet growing consumer demand, Zespri is planning for year-round availability and is currently in a test phase to explore the potential for growing Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit within the United States.
Since the launch of Zespri’s SunGold Kiwifruit in the American market six years ago, demand for its Kiwifruit has made it one of the fastest growing fruits in the fruit bowl. A combination of creative sampling, a new vertically designed package and an effective consumer campaign has contributed to a sales increase of over 31 percent in net sales (total U.S.) for this season.
“Consumers love the taste of our Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit,” explains Glen Arrowsmith, Zespri’s North America Market Manager. “Our goal is to eventually offer the Zespri eating experience to consumers year round. We are excited to partner with local growers to explore the U.S. opportunity as we test the growing potential and the fruit’s post-harvest and sensory performance. We are at the very early stage but have just harvested the first small trial U.S. crop in October, which was planted in 2018. It’s exciting to see U.S. grown SunGold Kiwi.”
Understanding local climates
Zespri is partnering with a range of local U.S. growers at 10 test sites to better understand local growing conditions on the West Coast. Kiwifruit varieties perform differently in various countries and climates so thorough testing and evaluation is vital before deciding to commercialize plantings. Zespri growers work with third-party auditors to ensure they are growing and harvesting to the Zespri high standards.
The opportunity is for West Coast grown SunGold Kiwifruit to supplement its New Zealand and Italian grown kiwi to provide a 12-month supply. Zespri’s seasonal supply is shipped from New Zealand from May through November. To extend the season, fruit from Italy is supplied from November through February. However, the Northern Hemisphere volumes are limited and locally grown supply could help meet this demand. Consumers will only need to look for the Zespri label to know they are getting the best tasting kiwifruit.