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"New Zealand green and gold kiwifruit demand "is looking great"

Zespri’s focus on gold kiwifruit is paying off, with demand for the company’s SunGold variety up across all markets this season.

“We’re about a third of the way through gold packing for the New Zealand season so far and it’s looking great,” Zespri Chief Operating Officer Simon Limmer says.

“It’s a record season, we’ve seen a significant increase in gold volumes. That has been planned, and we’re expecting an incremental increase of about one-third on volumes from last year.”

He says the yield from the 2015 New Zealand season of this new gold variety, officially known as SunGold, was around 30 million trays. Zespri also plans to continue investing in the variety to help meet consumer demand and grow the gold kiwifruit category.

“We’ve just announced that we’re licensing another 400 hectares of gold this year. On back of the growth, we’re seeing this decision is a real vote of confidence and testament to the market demand we’re seeing,” Mr Limmer says.

“It’s also giving growers the opportunity to develop new orchards and invest on the back of the success we’re having with SunGold.”

While the global market for kiwifruit is dominated by green varieties, the different visual appearance and flavour profile of SunGold is introducing new consumers to the fruit and helping grow the wider kiwifruit category.

“The gold category is still underdeveloped globally and SunGold offers more potential to access new consumer tastes, with its different flavour, different colour and health benefits,” Mr Limmer explains.

“Gold kiwifruit naturally have high dry matter and brix so they are a little bit sweeter than what you might find with a green kiwi. Zespri has also been working on increasing the taste standards across our range, so we’re constantly taking measures and adapting to meet consumer demands and raise the standards.”

“Our SunGold fruit are really well received in the market, so we’re excited to fulfil this demand.”

While the gold season is already well underway in New Zealand, Mr Limmer says harvest for green kiwifruit is running a little late this year.

“We’ve had a late summer, so it’s a bit of a late start to the green season for us, which does happen sometimes. The last couple of years have been like this, with warm temperatures throughout the day and night,” he says.

“Normally, around this time of year we’d expect to have colder temperatures at night, which helps the fruit mature on the vines and bring the brix up.”

Apart from the late start, Mr Limmer says the season is looking promising.

“Volumes of green are expected to be good, similar to last year. We’ve had lots of rain as well, and that’s produced good-sized fruit.”

He says demand for both gold and green is growing in all their key markets and expects this to continue.

“Demand is looking great. There’s increased demand for gold, and green always has good demand,” he says.

“Our key markets in Europe, China and Japan are very strong and we’re seeing growth in all our core markets. We also expect markets in other parts of Asia, the Middle East and America to all enjoy growth this year.”

Picking in the New Zealand kiwifruit season typically runs from early March to May or June, with variations depending on the climate.

“As Zespri has licensed fruit growing in both the southern and northern hemispheres, we’re also in a position to supply fruit to markets all through the year,” Mr Limmer says.

For more information:
Rachel Lynch
Tel: +6 475 727 600
Email: [email protected]