For this kiwifruit grower, it’s welcoming the chance to be back together.
“We’re just really happy to meet with retailers in person again. It’s been a while,” says Susan Noritake, head of sales for Orange County, CA-based Zespri U.S. of the upcoming 2022 Organic Produce Summit (OPS) July 13-14. “It’s exciting to have an extra touch point with them again and showcase our POS and shipper units in person. We’re really looking forward to cultivating relationships and sharing the amazing results of what the category is doing right now.”
While Zespri is exhibiting in booth #912, Noritake says it’s also sponsoring a morning break at the show where it will provide Organic SunGold kiwifruit for attendees to taste its unique sweet flavor.
Zespri’s Organic SunGold kiwifruit season is well underway given the season runs May through October. (The conventional season runs longer into the winter.) “There’s definitely great demand for organic kiwifruit and more head space for growth,” says Noritake. “When we look at the weighted distribution of organic kiwi, it’s lower compared to conventional but that doesn’t mean organic consumer demand isn’t there. Organic demand has grown by double digits this year so we’re striving to put in more volume to meet as much demand as we can this season.”
Summer promotions coming
To support movement of the fruit, Noritake says promotions often run throughout the summer and into the back-to-school season as well.
Zespri is also using its presence at OPS to show visitors its shipper display units, which hold four cases of fruit. “We’ve seen phenomenal results when they’re put in stores. We’re seeing upwards of 200 percent sales lift so they’re helping drive sales for retailers and driving awareness for our product,” says Noritake, who says that kiwifruit is the number one fastest-growing fruit in the fruit bowl.
The company is also going to showcase a sustainability initiative it’s trialing this year with Bower, a unique start-up that rewards recycling of consumer packaging. “We’re going to test the overall consumer acceptance of that and the market readiness of that program. We’ll be tracking the rates to see if it’s another way we can help drive closed-loop initiatives,” Noritake says. “Sustainability is a major focus for us at Zespri. We’re looking to be carbon positive as a New Zealand kiwifruit industry by 2035 so we’ll continue to prioritize these progressive projects along our journey. The OPS is a great place to collaborate, share ideas and learn from each other as we continue on our journey of sustainability.”