Zespri® Commercializes Red Kiwifruit
- by Maggie Mead
NEW ZEALAND - Could a new kiwifruit variety be ready to hit shelves soon? Kiwifruit consumers in some of Zespri®’s key markets will soon be able to enjoy Zespri Red Kiwifruit following a decision from the Zespri Board to commercialize a red kiwifruit variety for New Zealand growers.
“After incredible feedback from our passionate consumers, we’re really excited to announce we will be making our new Zespri Red variety available to consumers, with production set to increase in New Zealand over the next couple of years so that we can reach commercial volumes,” Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson said. “Adding a red kiwifruit variety to our range of premium kiwifruit provides Zespri with an opportunity to further compete for market share in areas where kiwifruit is currently under-represented and ultimately grow our industry’s share of the global fruit bowl.”
Zespri Red is the latest kiwifruit to come through Zespri’s new varieties breeding program, which is run in partnership with Plant & Food Research. According to a press release, an extensive trial process has been implemented to ensure that the fruit not only tastes delicious, but has the ability to perform to Zespri’s high expectations.
“This fruit has a deliciously sweet berry-tinged flavor and vibrant red flesh, and we’re thrilled to see such strong demand from our initial limited sales release,” stated Mathieson. “That we can make this variety available is a real credit to the growers who have been involved in our trials, our new varieties breeding program run in partnership with Plant & Food Research, and the commitment to innovation within Zespri and the wider kiwifruit industry. This commercialization also reflects our commitment to always do better—whether that be by offering better products or making greater contributions to our local communities.”
A slightly smaller and softer-handling kiwifruit than Green and SunGold®, Zespri Red’s distinctive red flesh stems from Anthocyanin—a unique and naturally occurring pigment within the fruit that is linked to cardiovascular and cognitive health.
Consumers in New Zealand and selected markets can expect to see limited releases of Zespri Red in selected supermarkets and fruit retailers again in 2020 and 2021, as production increases toward commercial volumes in the coming years.
The red variety is initially slated to launch in Asia given the shorter marine transit times, while trials will continue in other Zespri production regions in the Northern Hemisphere to determine the commercial potential of the cultivar in different environments.
“We know there’s a strong demand for a red kiwifruit, and we’d love to get this fruit to our consumers sooner, but the fact that kiwifruit depends on nature’s cycles means it’ll take at least two years for the vines here in New Zealand to produce enough fruit to meet initial demand,” Mathieson concluded.
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