Zespri Wraps Up Stellar Kiwifruit Season
- by Maggie Mead
MOUNT MAUNGANUI, NEW ZEALAND - As the 2019 New Zealand kiwifruit season draws to a close, Zespri is celebrating its stellar crop that is in its final stages. The company’s full crop has been shipped, including four containers of Zespri Green leaving Tauranga bound for North Asia, unloading in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Approximately 70 tonnes (77 tons) were loaded onto the APL Denver at the end of November and expected to reach the first port in early December.
“Our premium Zespri SunGold and Green Kiwifruit are more popular than ever, and over the course of the season we’ve moved 44 full charter shiploads and 17,160 containers, or more than 500,000 tonnes in total, to our markets,” Blair Hamill, Chief Global Supply Officer, commented.
Zespri reports that 147 million trays of kiwifruit were shipped offshore this season to over 50 countries to satiate the unprecedented levels of demand from record numbers of consumers.
The number of containers shipped was slightly down from the previous record year, but the 2019 season was the second-largest crop ever harvested by New Zealand kiwifruit growers. This was also the first season that Zespri exported more of its popular SunGold variety than Green.
“This was a significant milestone for the industry,” Hamill said in a press release. “Zespri SunGold was developed through Zespri’s partnership with Plant and Food Research, after many years of research and significant investment by New Zealand growers. Owned by Zespri, it’s generating strong returns to New Zealand communities and to our licensed growers offshore and we’re excited about the international demand for it.”
Throughout the busy season, fruit arrived in Europe and China earlier than the previous year, helping the company meet growing demand for kiwifruit.
“The 2019 season saw our kiwifruit mature earlier meaning we could ship our kiwifruit to consumers earlier in the year and get the season started with a lot of momentum, delivering for consumers around the world,” Hamill said. “We’ve also received feedback from the markets that the fruit is one of our best-ever tasting crops.”
From New Zealand, over 74 million trays of Zespri SunGold and 73 million trays of Green were supplied to global customers and consumers.
“As we come to the end of the sales programme for New Zealand fruit we’re transitioning to Northern Hemisphere production. With that crop harvested and being packed we’re forecasting a total of just over 19 million trays through our partnerships with growers in Italy, France, Japan, Korea, and Greece driving strong returns to those communities,” Hamill commented.
Though this season has closed, Zespri is ready and eager for the next, and has already begun planning for the start of next year’s New Zealand crop, with the first vessel expected to export next season’s fruit starting in March 2020.
“Demand for our fruit continues to grow faster than our ability to meet it and we’re working hard to boost our production so we can continue to supply the world’s leading portfolio of branded kiwifruit all 12 months of the year,” concluded Hamill.
Zespri holds a sweet opportunity for many, and we look forward to bringing you more on the innovative company as we move into 2020!