Zespri's Northern Hemisphere Kiwi Harvest Underway
ORANGE COUNTY, CA - For those lovers of kiwifruit—especially those who want to eat them year-round—you will be delighted to hear that the harvest of Zespri Kiwifruit from Northern Hemisphere orchards is currently underway.
“This year’s Northern Hemisphere harvest is expected to exceed 19.1 million trays, which is almost 25 percent up on the 15.4 million trays recorded in 2017/18,” said Chief International Production Officer Sheila McCann-Morrison. “This includes close to 10.5 million trays of SunGold, compared to 6.3 million trays last year, and 8 million trays of green kiwifruit versus 9 last year. Zespri is looking forward to completing the New Zealand season by the end of the year while transitioning to supply from our Northern Hemisphere locations.”
McCann-Morrison noted in the company’s press release that the increaed volumes demonstrate the progress of Zespri’s global supply strategy, which has provided consumers with Zespri Kiwifruit year-round.
“Growth in our offshore supply allows us to meet increasing consumer demand for our premium quality kiwifruit and ensure that our brand remains top of mind in the three-to-four months of the year when our New Zealand-grown kiwifruit is unavailable. Ultimately, this is trying to meet the needs of our consumers and support sustainable long-term returns for our non-New Zealand and New Zealand-grown crop,” McCann-Morrison stated.
In order to make this year-round supply feasible, Zespri has fostered long-term partnerships with growers and suppliers outside of New Zealand. Due to these partnerships, Zespri can deliver kiwifruit to Italy, South Korea, Japan, and France. The press release noted that exports from Italy and France allow the company to serve consumers in other key markets. Europe is one of its most significant sources of kiwifruit; Italy supplies more than 90 percent of Zespri’s total volume.
All kiwifruit grown outside of New Zealand adheres to the company’s high-quality standards.
“In addition to expanding our production in current key European locations, particularly in Italy, we are running trials in new growing locations to determine whether we can successfully diversify our supply. We believe this will allow us to mitigate risks like pests and adverse weather events and also bring our supply closer to market,” said McCann-Morrison.
Apart from substantial growth in Europe, the company expects to see continued growth in Asia. It is currently focusing on increasing its SunGold supply in Japan and South Korea; it also is looking to explore the option of a 12-month supply program in China. Additionally, a proof of concept trial is nearing completion in China, as the company works with local partners to assess local varieties and determine whether it can sustainably grow Zespri-quality fruit. Zespri has also started production trials in Oregon and California in the U.S., which has become one of Zespri’s most significant new growth markets.
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