For further information please contact:

Rachel Lynch
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: +64 7 572 7757 (office)
Mobile: +64 27 509 1805 (mobile)
Email: rachel.lynch@zespri.com

For information regarding the bacterial kiwifruit vine disease, Psa, please visit Kiwifruit Vine Health’s website at: www.kvh.org.nz

Positive future for kiwifruit industry as 2014 season kicks off | Media Release | 28 March 2014 »

Kiwifruit growers have taken another step along the recovery pathway from the vine-killing disease Psa, with gold kiwifruit volumes forecast to rise in 2014 after two years of decline, Zespri’s Chief Executive Lain Jager says. More »
 

John Palmer awarded 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal | Media Release | 22 November 2013 »

Former chairman of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board, John Palmer, was last night awarded the 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal for his tireless efforts to bring the kiwifruit industry through the fiscal crisis in the early 1990’s. More »
 

Zespri wins at Asia Fruit Awards | Media Release | 5 September 2013 »

Zespri, the world’s premium kiwifruit marketer, has been recognised for the quality of its marketing programmes across Asia at the inaugural Asia Fruit Awards presented in Hong Kong last night. More »
 

Positive start to season for Zespri SunGold | Media Release | 27 August 2013 »

Zespri’s recently-commercialised gold kiwifruit variety SunGold is enjoying solid sales in 2013 and a great reception from consumers around the world. More »
 

Zespri’s 14th Annual Meeting looks forward after two tough years | Media Release | 25 July 2013 »

The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is beginning to look forward with a sense of cautious optimism after two tough years of having to learn how to manage the bacterial disease Psa. More »
 

Zespri welcomes closer NZ-Chinese-Taipei Economic Agreement | Media Release | 11 July 2013 »

Zespri International Ltd welcomes the announcement of the NZ-Chinese-Taipei Economic Cooperation Agreement which was signed in Wellington this afternoon. More »
 

Zespri Gold3 licence allocation significantly oversubscribed | Media Release | 19 June 2013 »

The Zespri Board has announced that 1,130 hectares of licences for the more Psa-tolerant gold kiwifruit cultivar Gold3 will be allocated to Zespri growers in 2013, as the next step in the Psa recovery pathway – 288 hectares more than was originally intended for allocation. More »
 

Vintage year for Zespri Kiwifruit | Media Release | 10 June 2013 »

The 2013 New Zealand kiwifruit season has already set records for the best-tasting Zespri Kiwifruit ever. More »
 

Record returns delivered to New Zealand kiwifruit growers in the shadow of Psa | Media Release | 28 May 2013 »

Zespri’s annual results for 2012/13 show the highest-ever average Orchard Gate Return (OGR) returns of $51,153 delivered to New Zealand kiwifruit growers. More »
 

New research highlights kiwifruit’s nutritional benefits | Media Release | 14 May 2013 »

Kiwifruit is a nutritional powerhouse; its unassuming skin encases high levels of the key nutrients associated with optimal health. More »
 

News Archive
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Excellent Season Start | Media Release | 11 April 2007


Ideal weather conditions and excellent fruit quality are heralding a superb 2007 season start for the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry. Kiwifruit growing region throughout the North Island are abuzz as picking gangs move through orchards and packhouse activity ramps up. "We got away to an early start this season and we're slightly ahead of where we were at this time last year with almost 8 million trays of ZESPRI® GREEN and GOLD Kiwifruit packed so far, compared with around 7 million in 2006," said Lain Jager, General Manager Supply Chain.

"In addition, fruit quality is exceeding expectations with good taste characteristics.  Our marketing teams in Asia and Europe are gearing up for product to start arriving next week, and our customers and consumers are eagerly anticipating the arrival of great tasting, high quality New Zealand Kiwifruit."

The post-harvest sector is in full swing and for many the investment in efficiency improvements is starting to pay off.  "We've got a full team on-board now and commenced full day and night shifts this week," said Jams Trevelyan, Operations Manager for Te Puke-based Trevelyan's Pack & Cool. "We've been able to get a lot more volume through earlier than we did last year and we're pleasantly surprised about the good quality of fruit coming through."

Trevelyan's are one of many post-harvest facilities to have invested significantly in additional resources to improve efficiencies. "Our new campground and backpackers have been well received and our new coolstorage facilities are coming on stream now," said Mr Trevelyan. "With over 550 people plus contractors, and with a culturally diverse workforce of over 10 different nationalities, the challenge for us now is to ensure we continue to work efficiently to maintain the high standards that our customers expect."

One way ZESPRI builds customer expectations is through its inbound tour programme.  A key aspect of the overall marketing mix, the programme helps enhance customer loyalty by connecting key customers with New Zealand's unique environment and the people who produce and handle ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.

In the past few months ZESPRI, the post-harvest sector and kiwifruit growers have hosted a large number of influential international customers, with many commenting on the high quality of the fruit on the vines, creating positive market anticipation for early fruit.

The first of the early fruit departed New Zealand's shores for Tokyo aboard the Asian Lavender on Tuesday last week, and ten more ships are set to depart over the next two weeks destined for ZESPRI's key markets of Japan, Europe, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.  Included in this group is the maiden voyage of the MV Star Best, an impressive new reefer vessel which will depart for Zeebrugge, Belgium, on Saturday 14 April, laden with thousands of pallets of high quality New Zealand Kiwifruit.

ZESPRI Shipping Manager Mike Knowles said, "This is the first year we've been able to dispatch two ships to Europe this early in the season, and we're delighted that one of these will be the brand new MV Star Best." Mr Knowles said the MV Star Best is the third of four new specialised refrigerated vessels that Star Reefers is building, the first of which, the MV Star First, was used by ZESPRI last season to cut down the transit time to market and improve refrigeration efficiencies.

The first ships are set to arrive in Europe and Asia to capitalise on the early season marketing programmes. The promotions will include television commercials, billboards and magazine advertising, in-store promotions and consumers competitions, nutritional campaigns in schools and strong public relations focusing of the health and nutrition values of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.
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Early Start To The 2008 Kiwifruit Season | Media Release | 3 April 2008


The world’s best kiwifruit is now on its way to meet the high demand of discerning Japanese consumers with the departure of the Sampaquita 1 from the Port of Tauranga this week.

The industry has harvested and packed more than double the volume of ZESPRI® GREEN and GOLD Kiwifruit, compared with this time last season. General Manager Supply Chain, Lain Jager, said his team has planned an aggressive early shipping schedule with 15 percent more trays scheduled to be shipped by early May.

“We’re expecting another large crop this year to be exported within the same 30-week window,” said Mr Jager. “Our focus right now is on managing a smooth export operation from the orchard through packing and transport, to ensure the fruit arrives in the best possible condition and meets the quality expectations of our customers.”

A new system for managing supplier orders, receipting inventory at the onshore ports and controlling the vessel loading process went live this week, after work by ZESPRI, service providers and industry partners over the past eight months. Lain Jager said the previous wharf system was built over 15 years ago to manage the flow of information between suppliers, ZESPRI and the Port, as part of ZESPRI’s orchard to retail traceability system.

“Our industry has advanced significantly since the early 1990s to now manage almost 100 million trays, and the old system was simply not coping. By replacing it with a solution using our existing SAP infrastructure we have improved process efficiencies and data quality, and created a strong platform to support future growth. The project team has completed an impressive amount of work designing and building the new system, and the implementation has gone smoothly with the first ship of the season being loaded successfully this week.”

Dry weather conditions have helped bring this season’s harvest forward and will be critical to ensure successful picking and vessel loading over the next two months. Another important factor is a steady supply of labour for picking and packing. Chief Executive of NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, Mike Chapman, said a labour shortage has been declared in the Bay of Plenty, where 80 per cent of ZESPRI’s kiwifruit is grown.

“Under recently-amended immigration policies, workers can move more freely between employers and regions in areas where a labour shortage has been declared,” said Mr Chapman. This helps revive the harvest trail and should see workers moving from apples to kiwifruit as our picking starts.” He said he was hopeful that sufficient numbers of workers will be available for the season.

The first trays of ZESPRI® GREEN and ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit were successfully loaded on the Sampaquita 1 in Gisborne and Tauranga this week, destined for Tokyo and Kobe, with a further 14 vessels scheduled for departure this month.

The first ships are scheduled to arrive in Asian and European ports to capitalise on the early season marketing programmes. The promotions will include television commercials, billboards and magazine advertising, in-store promotions and consumer competitions, nutritional campaigns in schools and strong public relations activities focusing on the health and nutrition values of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.
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Grower Returns Forecast to Increase | Media Release | 23 May 2008


ZESPRI today announced an indicative range of grower returns forecast for the 2008/09 season, which will be keenly welcomed by the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

Fruit and service payments per tray supplied (excluding the loyalty premium) are forecast to increase by a range of $0.45 to $0.85 per tray for ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit, $0.55 to $0.95 per tray for ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit and $0.50 to $0.90 per tray for ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit. 

 Indicative Amounts for 2008 / 09   2007 / 08 Actuals
 ZESPRI® GREEN          $6.75 to $7.15  $6.30
 ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC  $8.70 to $9.10  $8.15
 ZESPRI® GOLD  $9.30 to $9.70  $8.81

The ZESPRI Board is aiming to deliver a loyalty premium per class 1 tray of $0.15 for the 2008/09 season, compared with $0.10 for the 2007/08 season. The loyalty premium is paid to growers who are party to ZESPRI’s three-year rolling contract.

Chief Executive Tony Nowell said the forecast improved return and loyalty premium would be welcomed, particularly from GREEN growers who have been hardest hit by the impacts of foreign exchange movements in 2007/08. “Average fruit and service payments per tray last year were down by 14 percent on the prior year. The increase in forecast payments for the 2008/09 season is attributable to improved in-market pricing, size profile and foreign exchange situation, but is offset to some degree by increased shipping costs. Improvements to the size profile of this year’s crop reflects considerable effort by growers to match the optimum market profile signalled by ZESPRI.”

Mr Nowell also said the industry had managed an exceptional start to the current season with another record crop of good quality, great tasting, early fruit arriving into an encouraging market environment. “We’re extremely encouraged by the positive start to this season with fruit being harvested, packed and loaded with minimal constraints,” he said. “This again reflects the efforts of growers and post-harvest suppliers towards best-practise harvesting and packing to meet ZESPRI’s premium quality standards.”

President of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers, Graham Wiggins, congratulated growers on increasing fruit size profile and improving picking quality, noting that apart from the reducing exchange rate these were key reasons for the forecast return increasing. “I am encouraged by the increase in fruit and service payments but recognise that growers’ on-orchard and post-harvest costs have risen significantly,” said Graham. “The whole industry must continue the industry’s war on costs to drive for extra value and cost efficiencies on-orchard and throughout the supply chain.”

Financial results for the year ended 31 March 2008

The turnaround in returns comes as ZESPRI announces its final season results for the year ending 31 March 2008. ZESPRI reported a consolidated net profit after tax of $19.7 million for the year ended 31 March 2008, compared with $22.1 million the prior year. This 11 percent reduction on the previous period is due mainly to a structural change in ZESPRI’s margin. From 1 April 2007, ZESPRI lowered the margin it takes on net sales from 7 percent to 6 percent, and on the net return to suppliers from 7 percent to 6 percent. The profit before tax was favourably impacted by $4.7 million of income from the sale of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit licences.

Foreign exchange movements had a significant impact over the prior year, removing $80 million or $0.80 per tray from grower returns. ZESPRI’s hedging policy helped to some extent, but the continued strengthening of the New Zealand Dollar during 2007/08 impacted heavily on ZESPRI’s US Dollar and Japanese Yen income streams.

Net global kiwifruit sales increased 3 percent from $1.125 billion in 2006/07 to $1.164 billion in 2007/08. Fruit and service payments (including the loyalty premium) increased by 1 percent from $654.3 million to $660.5 million. When spread over the larger crop, this equated to a 14 percent reduction in per-tray fruit and service payments, from $8.07 to $6.93 per tray supplied.
New Zealand-sourced kiwifruit volumes sold increased by 15 percent to 92.4 million trays from 80.1 million trays in 2006/07. This larger-than-normal variance was partly due to the high fruit loss volumes experience during the 2006/07 season.

Tony Nowell said that despite the challenges of the past season, ZESPRI generated record returns in its key markets. “Record sales volumes and returns were generated in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China. Europe sold record volumes of kiwifruit and generated a record market contribution in total but, with intense price competition from Chile along with a smaller size profile compared with the prior season, contribution per tray was lower than for the previous year.”

Mr Nowell said costs across our industry are increasing, particularly from fuel, freight and wage increases, and foreign exchange impacts over the past year have dragged down five-year average returns significantly. “Healthy returns will be driven by ZESPRI-controlled revenue growth, a disciplined focus on expenditure right across our industry and the adoption of best-practise orchard management techniques,” he said. “ZESPRI has implemented a number of efficiencies for the 2008 season and we remain focused on initiatives to add further value and reduce costs. We will continue to work with our supply partners and growers to encourage industry-wide adoption of practises that will drive improved returns for growers.”

The Company intends to declare a final dividend for payment in August 2008 of 33 cents per fully paid share, in addition to the interim dividend (paid in December 2007) of 35 cents per share. A special dividend of 12.67 cents was paid in March 2008, this being the company’s 50 percent share of the proceeds from the sale of GOLD licences. This brings the total dividend for the 2007/08 year to 80.67 cents per share, compared with 82 cents in 2007/08, both representing 100 percent of available profits.

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Tony Nowell Steps Down as ZESPRI CEO | Media Release | 6 June 2008


ZESPRI Group Ltd CEO Tony Nowell has tendered his resignation to the ZESPRI Board, effective from 30 June 2008, and Lain Jager, ZESPRI’s General Manager Supply Chain, has been appointed acting CEO, effective from 1 July, the company’s chairman, Craig Greenlees, announced today.

Mr Nowell wishes to focus more widely on the development of the broader New Zealand food industry, the country’s growing international trade opportunities and personal community interests.

“ZESPRI has achieved a decade of extraordinary growth in revenues and returns since 1998 thanks to its great team, its superb product and its outstanding brand, together with its single point of entry marketing system,” Mr Nowell said today.

“In the last 15 months, I have enjoyed my role in putting in place the structural and personnel changes within the company that will position it well to replicate that record of success in the decade ahead.

“The skilled and capable senior management team now in place will continue to execute the company’s clear strategic direction and achieve the challenging objectives its board and growers/shareholders have set.

Mr Greenlees thanked Mr Nowell for his service over the last 15 months and said the Board believed he had achieved important changes within the business over that time. He said an extensive search for a new CEO would begin immediately and the Board looked forward to working with Mr Jager in his new role as acting CEO.

Mr Jager said it was a privilege for anyone to be part of the ZESPRI community as he had been for 10 years.

“I feel an enormous responsibility to build on the relationships from grower to consumer that are at the heart of the ZESPRI business, and have agreed three priorities as acting CEO with the Board:
1. Deliver returns to growers in 2008/09 of at least 65 cents above last year’s average per-tray return
2. Further develop the executive and management capability of the ZESPRI team
3. Secure tangible gains by a truly integrating the supply chain from cool-store to customer, including the onshore industry in New Zealand

“These priorities are challenging in the context of low returns last season and increasing costs through the value chain but they are essential to deliver on the strategic plan against which the entire ZESPRI team is accountable to our growers and shareholders,” he said.

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ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit May Boost Natural Defences | Media Release  | 24 June 2008


A new study published this week in Food and Agricultural Immunology adds to the growing body of evidence that kiwifruit may help boost the body’s natural defence mechanisms.

Lynley Drummond, Health Science Manager at ZESPRI International, based in New Zealand, said “This study provides more promising evidence that kiwifruit can help improve the body’s natural defence response.”

The study (conducted by scientists at Bioactives Research New Zealand) showed that mice consuming kiwifruit extract – an extract of both ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit – had a far better immune response to two types of vaccination, both in the levels of antibodies produced against the vaccinations in blood and surface cells, and in the levels of protective innate immunity cells, which the body uses to identify and destroy harmful processes in the body. This was compared to mice in the placebo group.

“We all know that consuming fruit regularly is good for us, but we wanted to know if kiwifruit in particular, could have a beneficial effect on the body’s defence system,” said Ms Drummond. “What we found in this study seems to indicate that it does, at least in a well-researched animal model and these findings complement those of a earlier study (conducted by scientists at The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand and AgResearch) published in Nutrition Research April (2008) which also demonstrated a positive effect of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit on immune responses.”

Together both studies provide strong evidence that kiwifruit may have a positive effect on the immune system. The next steps are to confirm these findings in human clinical trials.

Possible reasons for the outstanding effect of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit on natural defence mechanisms include:
  • The high vitamin content. ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit are high in vitamin C and vitamin E, compared to most other fruit.
  • The high antioxidant content - in particular the amounts and unique balance of carotenoid antioxidants. These compounds have previously been shown to boost natural levels of resistance. 
  • The high soluble fibre content, important for healthy gut function, which is one of the body’s most important areas for natural defence.

These publications signal the beginning of ZESPRI International Limited’s new kiwifruit health research platform – Natural Protection - and there is a body of science underway to support this platform.
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ZESPRI AGM Focused on Lifting Industry Performance | Media Release | 17 July 2008


At ZESPRI’s Annual General Meeting, held in Tauranga today, Chairman Craig Greenlees highlighted strong market performance in the year ending 31 March 2008, despite a significant crop increase.

“Total sales volumes and revenues were up in each of our key markets, a significant accomplishment with New Zealand crop volumes increasing by 15 percent over the prior year.”

Despite this achievement, Mr Greenlees said the impacts of foreign exchange, increased price-led competition and rising costs, particularly fuel and labour, severely impacted grower returns. “Although we delivered a highly credible market return, it just didn’t translate into what went into growers’ pockets.”

Mr Greenlees said he remained optimistic about the indicative per-tray returns announced in May, despite further fuel increases since then. “If we are successful in increasing average per-tray returns by at least 65 cents, on another significant increase in volumes, then that truly will be an excellent result.”

Acting Chief Executive Lain Jager used the Annual Meeting as an opportunity to focus on what was needed to improve GREEN Kiwifruit returns, which in the past season were down by 17 percent. “Our analysis showed that the highest earning 25 percent of GREEN growers’ returned on average at least three times more per hectare than the average grower,” said Mr Jager. “Alarmingly, almost 40 percent of GREEN growers had a net orchard return of below zero. Clearly, many of our GREEN growers did not have a sustainable business in 2007.”

The answer, he says, lies in ZESPRI’s historical recipe for prosperity, combined with an urgent focus on core business and innovation. “It requires a relentless commercial and market-focused approach. There is no room for complacency, only excellence and ever-increasing productivity will cut it.”

Resolutions passed

Shareholders appointed Dr Mark Bayly as a ZESPRI director, to replace Graham Drury who is standing down after five years in the role. 

Dr Bayly is an experienced director with significant executive experience, having worked as a marketing and management consultant for large international organisations including Vodafone, AIB (Ireland’s largest bank), Ogilvy Group Ireland, Baileys Irish Cream and Pepsi & 7up. Dr Bayly has also worked with Saatchi & Saatchi in Auckland and Dublin and Hesketh Henry Barristers and Solicitors.

Dr Bayly and his family own a 5.5 hectare GREEN orchard, is a member of the industry’s GREEN Development Group and is a director of Pacific View Pack & Cool Limited and Kiwifruit New Zealand.

Dr Bayly has a PhD (Law and Business), a Master of Business Studies (Hons) in Strategic Management and Planning, Master of Commercial Law (Hons), a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Commerce.

“I’ve been active within the New Zealand kiwifruit industry in different capacities and understand the business well,” said Dr Bayly. “Through my appointment as a ZESPRI director I can contribute to the exporting and international marketing of kiwifruit. Part of my role will be to strive to retain the industry’s single point of entry structure. This, combined with building and maintaining high prices in markets and eliminating unnecessary cost and complexity, is critical if we are to improve returns and profitability to growers.”

Shareholders also re-elected Craig Greenlees and David Pilkington, who were both unopposed. 

The AGM passed six resolutions including endorsement of the use of capital to fund the export of processed kiwifruit products that are no longer in the form of kiwifruit. This was passed by 99 percent, with approval provided until 2010.

A shareholder resolution, which proposed that the Board review the voting entitlement of shareholders to consider whether it should be changed to each shareholder having one vote, received 30 percent approval, which did not meet the 50 percent required.  

Annual General Meeting Speech 2008, Lain Jager, Acting CEO
Annual General Meeting Speech 2008, Craig Greenlees, Chairman
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ZESPRI Growers to Trial Four New Kiwifruit Test Varieties | Media Release | 25 July 2008


Four very promising new kiwifruit test varieties from ZESPRI are being placed in 30 hectares of pre-commercial grower block trials this year, following an extensive process of evaluation.

The four new varieties have been naturally bred by ZESPRI’s exclusive breeding partner HortResearch. They represent the many years both companies have dedicated to building knowledge and understanding of kiwifruit’s natural diversity and consumer promise.

Acting Chief Executive Lain Jager said the decision to release these new varieties to grower trials was not taken lightly. “Breeding, selecting, evaluating and releasing new kiwifruit varieties requires decades of commitment. The four new varieties that growers will be trialling have been under assessment for the past six to seven years, and form part of a 25-year research programme.”

Attributes that ZESPRI looks for as part of its programme with HortResearch include superior fruit size, attractive appearance, a long storage and shelf life, high nutritional content and most importantly, exceptional taste. Mr Jager said the trial varieties include both GREEN and GOLD and have a combination of the desired attributes.

Mr Jager said that to wear the ZESPRI® Brand, prospective varieties must be economically viable to produce and market. “Before the new varieties are taken to pre-commercial grower trials, smaller trial sites were established to allow for rigorous supply chain and consumer testing. This continued until we were satisfied we had  very promising new test varieties that have a high likelihood of meeting the exacting standards of our growers, customers and consumers.”

ldquo;We would only ever release varieties to the industry if we were certain of their commercial viability. We are confident that our new varieties are best in class and if they perform as expected in the pre-commercial trials, one or more could be commercially released to the New Zealand industry as early as 2010.”

Over the past five years the New Zealand kiwifruit industry has invested $8.1 million in new varieties and ZESPRI’s programme with HortResearch.  This breeding program is now the world’s largest, with over 50,000 seedlings currently under evaluation. Given the size of the programme, ZESPRI expects to be in a position to release further world-leading varieties for ZESPRI pre-commercial trials every few years.  This will provide a large pool of well tested new varieties that will ensure ZESPRI always has the premier varieties in every kiwifruit product category.

HortResearch acting Chief Executive Dr Bruce Campbell said HortResearch was excited to see new varieties moving closer to commercialisation.

“It is pleasing to see the fruits of so much hard work emerging as products that will really excite the consumer, ” he says.

The overwhelming achievement of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, which now represents a quarter of ZESPRI’s $1 billion business and is by far the most successful new kiwifruit in the market, demonstrates the success of the ZESPRI / HortResearch breeding programme.

ZESPRI believes in an entirely natural breeding programme, using natural processes which have been used for decades to produce new varieties. The ZESPRI / HortResearch breeding programme does not use genetic engineering.
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New Chairman for ZESPRI | Media Release | 20 August 2008


ZESPRI Group Ltd Chairman Craig Greenlees has announced his decision to step down after six years in the role. The Board this morning elected independent director of six years and former Richmond Ltd CEO John Loughlin as his replacement. Peter McBride will be deputy chairman, after six years as a director.

Mr Greenlees said he had decided to make this year his last as chairman and had advised the Board at its first meeting following the AGM. He will continue as a director of ZESPRI Group Ltd and also G6 Kiwi Ltd.

“I am enormously proud of the progress ZESPRI has made under my chairmanship over the last six years,” said Mr Greenlees. “We have moved well beyond the industry crisis of the late-1990s and are now, in my view, New Zealand’s most successful international marketing business and perhaps the only horticultural-product marketer in the world to achieve a genuine premium from our brands. That is because of the unity of the industry, the strong grower support we have achieved and the New Zealand Government’s commitment to our Single Point of Entry (SPE) marketing system."

“I am very pleased that the company is now ready to move into another strong growth phase after more challenging market environments over the last two years, and believe it is the right time for new leadership at Board and Executive level to secure those gains. It is also a good time for an independent director to take over the chairmanship at a time of industry consolidation, particularly in the post-harvest sector.”

Mr Loughlin said that it was an honour to be asked by the Board to take up the chairmanship. “I am tremendously excited about ZESPRI’s prospects,” he said. “It has very strong brands, outstanding grower loyalty, world-class executive and marketing talent, excellent research and development capability and is able to act strategically in the world marketplace thanks to its SPE system. "

“I am looking forward to meeting with employees today, and growers during the two-week roadshow starting on Monday, to outline the particular perspective I will bring as chairman, being initially from outside the kiwifruit industry. I am pleased to have Peter McBride as my deputy given his deep links, history and knowledge of this industry over his entire career.”

Mr Loughlin said the Board was continuing the process to appoint a permanent CEO following the resignation of Tony Nowell in June.

“The Board believes strongly that we are moving into a new growth phase and the next stage of the company’s development as a 12-month global supplier. It is the right time to secure the new leadership at Board and Executive level to serve the company and its growers and shareholders over the next five years and beyond.”
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New Zealand Kiwifruit Industry Breaks Record | Media Release | 12 November 2008


ZESPRI International Limited announced today that the 100 millionth ZESPRI tray is being shipped this week, marking a record season for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

Acting Chief Executive Lain Jager said this is the first time in the history of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry that this many trays are being exported during one season. “This milestone is attributable to the dedication, expertise and commitment of over 25,000 people involved in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry,” said Lain.

As well as carrying the 100 millionth ZESPRI tray, the departure of the M.V. Antwerp to Japan this week signifies the end of shipping for the 2008/09 season.

“By all accounts this has been an outstanding year so far – starting with an excellent production season where growers delivered fruit to meet ZESPRI’s premium quality requirements,” said Lain. “Our industry partners pulled together with ZESPRI employees to successfully manage the increased volume and we’re confident of a positive finish to the season. Our industry’s unrelenting focus on quality and serving our customers, along with integration and innovation, will underwrite our continued success in the future.”

A celebration was held at ZESPRI today to acknowledge the roles of ZESPRI employees, ZESPRI kiwifruit growers (represented by the New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Association), Kiwifruit New Zealand (regulatory authority), the Port of Tauranga and ZESPRI’s other shipping partners in reaching this milestone.

Lain Jager introduced Grant and Adele Fowlie, the growers of the 100 millionth ZESPRI tray, who own a 10-hectare ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit orchard and 3 hectares of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit in Te Puke. “We think it’s wonderful that ZESPRI can continue to export high volumes of fruit, and still maintain good returns for growers,” said Grant Fowlie. “We are proud to be the grower of the 100 millionth ZESPRI tray and recognise ZESPRI and the industry for this hugely admirable feat.”

Alister Hawkey, Chairman of G6 Kiwi Supply Limited and supplier of the pallet that contained the 100 millionth ZESPRI tray, was presented with a commemorative plaque recognising G6 Kiwi’s contribution. “G6 Kiwi is proud to deliver to ZESPRI the 100 millionth tray for export and congratulate ZESPRI and the industry in achieving this milestone. This has collectively been a tremendous effort from growers, post-harvest operators, suppliers and ZESPRI.”

“As the world’s leading marketer of kiwifruit, ZESPRI and the industry should feel immensely proud of its brand, its service and its fruit quality. G6 Kiwi looks forward to continuing to supply a premium product and service to ZESPRI and its customers worldwide,” said Alister Hawkey.

Each of ZESPRI’s other six kiwifruit supply partners also received a commemorative plaque recognising their contribution towards this milestone.

The ZESPRI® Brand was launched in 1997 and is now recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. ZESPRI manages 30 percent of internationally traded kiwifruit, supplies 52 countries and represents over 3,000 New Zealand growers of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® GREEN and GOLD ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

Did you know:
  • 100 million trays of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit would be enough to fill 92 Olympic-sized swimming pools
  • If placed end-on-end 100 million trays of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit would wrap around the world five times
  • The 2008 season shipped more than double the volume of premium quality ZESPRI® Kiwifruit than it did 10 years ago

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ZESPRI Wins Intellectual Property Case in China | Media Release | 28 November 2008


The Shanghai High Court has ruled in favour of ZESPRI in its case against copycat brand Znishio and has ordered the infringing company Nantong Xishu Fruit Trade Company Limited to pay RMB 300,000 (approx NZ$80,000) in compensation to ZESPRI, as well as to destroy all infringing kiwifruit labels and packaging.

ZESPRI’s General Counsel Murray Denyer said that this was an outstanding result, and one that was gaining wide publicity in China through media reporting.  “ZESPRI works closely with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other monitoring and enforcement agencies in all of our markets to ensure our intellectual property is protected,” said Mr Denyer. 

“Following reports from NZTE about significant volumes of copycat Znishio branded fruit in the Shanghai markets in 2007, our lawyers in China investigated and collected evidence which they then presented to local enforcement agencies.  Within 24 hours of the evidence being presented, the Chinese authorities then conducted a raid of premises where Znishio fruit was stored. This resulted in the confiscation of product and marketing materials.” 

The evidence seized in the raid was then used to take court action against Nantong Xishu Fruit Trade Company, the company behind the Znishio branded fruit in the second half of 2007.  The case was heard in the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate Court in early 2008, and in June 2008 that court ruled in ZESPRI’s favour, ordering Nantong Xishu to pay RMB300,000 in compensation to ZESPRI, and ordering the company to destroy all infringing labels and packaging.  Nantong Xishu appealed the court’s ruling, and the Shanghai High Court has now heard the appeal and upheld the lower Court’s original judgement.”

Mr Denyer said that ZESPRI would be working with its Chinese lawyers to ensure the judgment was enforced.  “This is a great result,” he said.  “As well as effectively shutting down this particular infringer, the publicity this decision is getting in China will hopefully be an effective deterrent against other would-be copycats.

“We’ll continue to work with our offshore partners to monitor infringements such as this and take action as is necessary to protect the significant value we have developed in the ZESPRI® Brand.”

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Lain Jager Appointed ZESPRI CEO | Media Release | 2 December 2008


Lain Jager has been appointed Chief Executive of ZESPRI Group Limited, effective immediately, following five months as Acting CEO and previous ZESPRI experience as Human Resources Manager and General Manager Supply Chain.

ZESPRI Chairman John Loughlin said the Board appointed Lain after an extensive five-month recruitment process. “We followed a robust process which resulted in a good quality shortlist of candidates,” said Mr Loughlin. “Lain has grown and developed in the role of Acting CEO in the past five months, and the Board is delighted to confirm that our industry will continue to benefit from his experience, skillset and dedication.”

Following a career in various human resources roles, Mr Jager joined ZESPRI in 1999 as Human Resources Manager and was promoted to General Manager Supply Chain in July 2004. His ZESPRI experience includes responsibility for human resources, communications, grower relations, corporate strategy, supply chain and innovation. He was appointed Acting CEO on 1 July 2008, following the departure of Tony Nowell.

“I’m delighted to have it confirmed that I will continue to be a part of the ZESPRI community which I’ve been involved with for the past 10 years,” said Mr Jager. “Real strength exists in our supply chain and this starts with our dedicated grower base and flows through to our loyal customers and consumers. I’m privileged to be surrounded by a significant depth of expertise and experience, both within ZESPRI and within our industry, and I’m looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

“Final returns for the 2008/09 Season are shaping up well and I believe we’re well positioned for future growth. But we can expect some challenges along the way as the global economic situation unfolds. I am determined that we retain our regulated industry structure, that we unlock the value within our GREEN business, and that we continue to build demand for our kiwifruit through new cultivars, brand strength, 12-month supply and product differentiation.”

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ZESPRI® Kiwifruit Boosts the Body's Immune System | Media Release | 18 December 2008


ZESPRI® GREEN and ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit may strengthen the body’s natural defences for everyday protection, according to studies published this week in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand.

ZESPRI® Kiwifruit have been found to boost the body’s immune system, improve digestive health and muscle performance, and reduce inflammation and cell damage.

This latest research, part of ZESPRI’s science programme to demonstrate the health benefits of kiwifruit, supports previous studies that show kiwifruit can help strengthen natural defences for everyday protection.

The new studies have found that ZESPRI® GREEN and ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit may provide the following benefits:
  • Enhances the body’s natural immune response, allowing it to fight off colds, the flu and other illnesses
  • Reduces inflammation which is associated with long-term diseases such as arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity
  • Assist in achieving the optimum balance between good and bad bacteria in the intestines
  • Protect against cancer associated enzymes in the lower digestive tract
  • Protect muscles against exercise-related oxidative stress

ZESPRI® Kiwifruit is full of nutrients, with high levels of vitamins C and E, anti-oxidants and fibre. It is considered to be one of the new ‘superfruits’ because of its added benefits to the body over and above basic nutrition.

“We all know that consuming fruit is good for us, but we wanted to know if kiwifruit in particular has a beneficial effect on the body’s natural defence system,” says Lynley Drummond, Health Science Manager at ZESPRI International Limited.

“These studies are an exciting step forward and support growing evidence that ZESPRI® Kiwifruit can strengthen the immune system and protect the body in many ways.”

The three studies published this week in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand, were conducted in New Zealand at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research and Massey University.

Other evidence highlighting ZESPRI® Kiwifruit’s natural health protection qualities includes studies published earlier this year that found mice consuming kiwifruit extract had stronger immune responses compared to the placebo group. Levels of protective immunity cells, which identify and destroy harmful foreign bodies, were elevated in groups fed kiwifruit.

ZESPRI is a grower owned cooperative of New Zealand kiwifruit growers, with the aim of ensuring top quality ZESPRI® GREEN and GOLD Kiwifruit are provided to consumers around the world, all year round.
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Free Trade Agreements with Korea and South East Asia | Media Release | 3 March 2009


A free trade agreement (FTA) with Korea could return $33 million a year to New Zealand Kiwifruit growers, ZESPRI said today following the government’s announcement of formal negotiations between the two nations.

The Korea announcement is hot on the heels of last week’s signing of free trade agreements between the South East Asian nations, Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA).

ZESPRI Group Chairman John Loughlin met with the Republic of Korea President His Excellency Mr Lee Myung-Bak on Tuesday during his visit to New Zealand. Mr Loughlin said the company strongly supports the government’s move towards reaching an FTA with the Republic of Korea.

“Korea is a very important market for ZESPRI. New Zealand exports around 24,000 tonnes of ZESPRI® GREEN and ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit to Korea each year. In 2008, this market was worth $100m to New Zealand kiwifruit growers.”

Mr Loughlin said that Korea’s current tariff on New Zealand kiwifruit is the highest in the world at 45 percent. This translates into a cost of $33.3 million each year, or $8,000 per grower.

He said ZESPRI has invested heavily in the Korean market over the past six years and has earned a reputation as a responsible marketer of quality fruit.

“In addition to spending more than US$30million on advertising and promotion in Korea, we have partnered with local kiwifruit growers on the island of Jeju to produce ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, under licence, for the Korean market.”

Mr Loughlin explained that a free trade agreement would secure New Zealand Kiwifruit’s premium position in the Korean market during the New Zealand off-season.

“Chile, one of our competitors in Korea, has a free trade agreement which will see its tariffs reducing to zero by 2014. ZESPRI has a superior quality product and marketing and service support, but unless we are able to remove the tariff our ability to service this market becomes unsustainable. With a free trade agreement of our own, New Zealand Kiwifruit can compete on a level playing field and win in the market on the basis of our premium quality fruit.”

The announcement of negotiations between New Zealand and Korea follows last week’s signing of an FTA between the South East Asian Nations, Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA). Tariff reductions resulting from that agreement will make markets like Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines even more attractive and will deliver increases in net returns to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, Mr Loughlin said.

“We congratulate the New Zealand government on securing these deals, which will deliver positive long term benefits to the economy and ZESPRI growers,” he said.
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Kiwifruit Season Kicks Off Early and in Style | Media Release  | 23 March 2009


The 2009 New Zealand kiwifruit season kicked off this week with the first of the ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit shipments sent to Japan, ahead of schedule, while ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit growers have started picking their quality fruit.

“We’re delighted with the quality of this early season harvest – the crop is clean with good sized fruit and excellent taste characteristics,” says Lain Jager, ZESPRI’s CEO.

“Our marketing teams in Asia and Europe plan to capitalise on the early start to the season with aggressive marketing campaigns, and our customers and consumers are eagerly anticipating the arrival of great tasting, high quality, healthy New Zealand Kiwifruit,” says Mr Jager.

The first shipment to Japan of 560 pallets, or 140,000 trays of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, will arrive in Kobe, Japan on 6 April after being shipped from Gisborne on the MV Sasanqua. This is almost two weeks ahead of the 2008 season start date.

The first kiwifruit to leave New Zealand is sharing a boat with a consignment of late season squash. The opportunity to share loads provides cost efficiencies and is environmentally responsible, highlighting ZESPRI’s ongoing commitment to the environment.

The first shipments of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit are scheduled to arrive in China mid-April and in Europe at the end of April, in plenty of time to capitalise on the early season marketing programmes. The promotions will focus on the health and nutritional benefits of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit, supported by consumer competitions and nutritional campaigns in schools.

ZESPRI has secured the Sunbelt Spirit, a refrigerated cargo carrier for the largest ever single shipment of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit, below deck to Europe, due to arrive at the beginning of May. The ship will hold 7,300 pallets (approximately 69.5 million pieces) of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit, meaning more fruit can be exported at one time, cutting down on transit times whilst offering improved refrigeration efficiencies.

“ZESPRI is in a unique position of being one of the few fruit exporters globally who could coordinate this kind of volume to move out of one port,” says Mike Knowles, ZESPRI Shipping Manager.

Consumer demand for top quality ZESPRI® GREEN, GOLD and ORGANIC Kiwifruit is very high. In particular, demand for ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit has increased significantly in the Asian markets and the demand for ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit has been increasing year on year.

“ZESPRI has grown its presence in Europe, China, Japan and North America, and over the next two years we predict total volumes to grow by a further 10 million trays. Thanks to improved foreign exchange rates, reduced oil prices and a very strong 2009 crop we are well placed for a successful season,” says Mr Jager.

The early start to the season is great news for kiwifruit connoisseurs around the world and the New Zealand economy alike.

Around 25,000 people, mostly seasonal workers, will be employed by the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry to harvest, pack and ship millions of ZESPRI® GREEN, GOLD and ORGANIC Kiwifruit over the coming months, boosting the local and domestic economy.

“The kiwifruit industry is a key economic driver in the Bay of Plenty and generates revenues and flow-on revenues of around $2 billion annually, contributing 19 per cent to the region’s gross domestic product,” said Peter Ombler, President of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated.

“We are confident that a combination of an early start to the season, the high quality of the fruit and new export markets will bode well for a strong season for Bay growers,” said Mr Ombler.
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ZESPRI Takes Carbon Footprint | Media Release | 30 April 2009


As part of ZESPRI’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, ZESPRI has undertaken a comprehensive and robust study to measure the carbon footprint across the lifecycle of New Zealand Kiwifruit.

This study was conducted in association with the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (MAF), Landcare Research, Massey University, Plant & Food Research (formerly HortResearch) and AgriLINK, with ZESPRI selected as the lead partner for the horticulture sector.

ZESPRI is the first kiwifruit marketer globally to use a measurement methodology which aligns with the UK’s PAS 2050, widely viewed as the most robust carbon emission measurement tool available.

Lain Jager, ZESPRI CEO, says this research highlights ZESPRI’s focus on sustainability.

“It’s critical that ZESPRI continues to set high sustainability performance standards and we take this responsibility very seriously. We’re fortunate to be working with global experts who have helped us to better understand our performance using a robust measurement tool, so we’re now in a position to make improvements in areas where we can have the most impact. For us the focus on sustainability, including developing a best practice approach to carbon efficiency, is a key part of our environmental responsibility and builds naturally on the initiatives introduced over the past 20 years that have seen the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry and ZESPRI take a leadership role in product quality, and food safety,” said Mr Jager.

In assessing carbon footprint, the study investigated each part of the supply chain, including Orchard Operations, Packhouse and Coolstore processes, Transport, Repacking and Retailer emissions as well as Consumer Consumption and Disposal.



The carbon footprint study has given ZESPRI a comprehensive understanding of the emissions at each stage of the lifecycle of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit:
  • Orchard operations make up 17% of total emissions for EU exports;
  • Packhouse and Coolstore processes account for 11% of total emissions;
  • Shipping accounts for 41% of total emissions;
  • Repacking and Retailer emissions amount to 9% of total emissions;
  • Consumer consumption and disposal comprises 22% of total emissions.
*The study has been based on a ZESPRI® Kiwifruit destined for Europe.

The Minister for Agriculture, Forestry David Carter, says ZESPRI’s footprint study is a clear demonstration of New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to addressing climate change through innovative and sustainable practices.

“This study brought together government, primary sector and academic researchers to apply an internationally recognised carbon footprint methodology to leading primary producers. This methodology is now able to be used by producers and suppliers across New Zealand to assess current business practices and set in place changes that will ensure New Zealand retains a global leadership position in sustainability.”

Mr Jager says ZESPRI takes seriously its commitment to producing sustainable fruit.

“We are working with the kiwifruit industry on a series of initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint focused on the three key stages of the kiwifruit lifecycle that we have control over; Orchard, Packhouse & Coolstore and Transport.”

Industry-wide initiatives include:

Orchard:
  • Climate change adaptation – adjusting on-orchard practices to accommodate the changing environment. For example, one grower has converted a natural gully into two lakes which now serve as an efficient irrigation system for his orchard;
  • Focus Orchard Network – sharing best practice to optimise orchard product quality, yield and efficiencies.

Packhouse and Coolstore:
  • Waste utilisation – turning kiwifruit waste into bio-plastics which can be used for packaging;
  • Lean Manufacturing - streamlining processes, reducing waste, increasing efficiency in the packhouse.

Transport:
  • Pack Optimisation - allowing a greater quantity of fruit to be shipped at one time without compromising quality;
  • Slow-steaming ships – reducing a ship’s speed by 2km/h at certain points in the season lowers diesel use by 17%;
  • The potential future use of SkySails – harnessing the wind’s energy by flying a sail 100–300m off the front of cargo ships, reducing carbon emissions and lowering operating costs.

By working with supply chain partners to identify areas for improvement, set initiatives in place and measure the impact of improvements as they are made, ZESPRI is leading the horticulture sector.

Note to Editors: The methodology used for the measurement of the carbon footprint parallels the UK PAS 2050 standard launched in November 2008 which is widely viewed as best practice.
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Carbon Footprint for ZESPRI® Kiwifruit | Media Release | 19 May 2009


ZESPRI has today advised the absolute figure for the carbon footprint of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit exported to Europe. This is in response to numerous enquiries following the announcement of the carbon equivalent emissions throughout the lifecycle of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.

The study, which measured the carbon footprint across the entire lifecycle of New Zealand Kiwifruit, was conducted in association with the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (MAF), Landcare Research, Massey University, Plant & Food Research and AgriLINK. ZESPRI was selected as the lead partner for the horticulture sector.

The methodology used in the study parallels the UK’s PAS 2050 standard, launched in November 2008 and widely viewed as the most robust carbon emission measurement tool available for retail-based food products.1 This project focused on developing the carbon footprint measurement methodology and is expected to contribute to any final methodology being introduced to global standards authorities.

There is potential for confusion to arise should figures derived using other methodologies be compared and contrasted with ZESPRI’s. To demonstrate this point, information provided in the literature review for this study presented figures for tomatoes from Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Spain with significant variation in results, ranging from 0.8 - 5.6 kg CO2 eq/kg fruit. A study in the US investigating rice excluded carbon emissions relating to the transport from retailer to consumer and presented a figure of 6.4kg CO2 eq/kg.

When reviewing the ZESPRI® Kiwifruit carbon footprint number it is important to remember that there is no current, globally accepted methodology for measuring carbon footprints. However ZESPRI wanted to be pro-active and at least start the process with the most robust and accepted measurement tool. The number is therefore an estimate only and subject to change over time.

The study found that ZESPRI® Kiwifruit shipped and consumed in Europe contributes 1.74kg of carbon equivalents per 1.0kg of kiwifruit across its lifecycle from orchard to consumer.

It also advised that emissions at each stage of the lifecycle of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit destined for Europe:
  • Orchard operations make up 17 percent of total emissions for EU exports;
  • Packhouse and Coolstore processes account for 11 percent of total emissions;
  • Shipping accounts for 41 percent of total emissions;
  • Repacking and Retailer emissions amount to 9 percent of total emissions;
  • Consumer consumption and disposal comprises 22 percent of total emissions.

ZESPRI is now working with the kiwifruit industry on a series of initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, focused on Orchard, Packhouse & Coolstore and Transport.
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ZESPRI Results Signal Solid Returns for Growers | Media Release | 22 May 2009


ZESPRI today announced the indicative range of returns growers could expect for the 2009/10 season, following a strong performance for the 2008/09 year.

The forecast returns for ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit are expected to hold steady against last year while ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit returns continue their upward trend.

  Indicative Returns 2009/10
(Per tray, excluding loyalty premium)
2008/09 Actuals
ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit $6.70 to $7.20 $6.98
ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit $8.70 to $9.20 $9.27
ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit $11.20 to $11.70 $9.70







The ZESPRI Board also expect to pay 15 cents per tray loyalty payment in the 2009/10 Season.

Chief Executive Lain Jager said the forecast returns reflect the different markets for ZESPRI® GREEN and ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit.

“Due to the global economic environment, we are not seeing the usual year on year growth for ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit, the largest category in our portfolio, with demand at about the same level as last year and weaker pricing in fruit markets generally. Obviously ZESPRI is not immune to market conditions but it is important to note that ZESPRI® GREEN and GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit continue to maintain a significant price premium over the competitor fruit reflecting our quality offering.”

Mr Jager said that we can expect a greater supply of competitor products this year, and there has been an overhang of domestic kiwifruit in some markets.

“Traditionally at this time of the year, the northern hemisphere kiwifruit sales have finished, leaving a clear run for New Zealand ZESPRI® Kiwifruit. This year however there is still Italian kiwifruit in the market in Europe and domestic kiwifruit on retail shelves in Japan.”

On the positive side, Chief Financial Officer Mervyn Dallas said that a 53 percent decrease in oil prices and more favourable foreign exchange rates in the key GREEN markets had helped offset the reduction in pricing.

The story for ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit was quite different, he said. The indicative returns for GOLD reflect the success of this product since its launch ten years ago. It has established an entirely new, premium category and its flavour profile targets a unique set of consumers who prefer a sweeter more tropical taste. Demand is growing year on year and this season exceeds supply, meaning ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit has been able to maintain pricing levels in local currencies. The range of indicative returns is expected to increase by $1.50 to $2.00 on last year.

The ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit indicative returns reflect the difficult market conditions for the organic category and an increase in supply volumes.

Mr Jager said that sales have started solidly in all markets but obviously it is still very early in the season to be forecasting returns in a global environment characterised by significant volatility. He also cautioned there is potential for the New Zealand dollar to strengthen during the year which may also impact returns.

The recent hailstorm which struck some crops in Te Puke, Opotiki and Whakatane on 11 May 2009 will impact on the forecast, he said. However this should be covered within the current range of indicative returns.

Financial results for the year ended 31 March 2009

The indicative returns forecast comes as ZESPRI announced its results for the year ending 31 March 2009, a year which saw the company over-deliver on its promise to growers of increased returns.

Chairman John Loughlin said that in June 2008 incoming Chief Executive Lain Jager promised growers that ZESPRI would deliver at least 65 cents per tray above the previous year’s average return per tray.

“The ZESPRI Team has done a very good of job to exceed this promise. ZESPRI has increased returns by 76 cents on average across all pools, with total fruit and service payments (excluding the loyalty premium) of $7.59 per tray supplied. This is an increase of 11 percent on the previous year.”

ZESPRI reported a consolidated net profit after tax of $23.9 million for the year ended 31 March 2009, compared with $19.7 million the year prior. This 21 percent increase on the previous period is due to the increase in global kiwifruit sales.

With oil prices at record highs of US$798 per tonne during 2008, New Zealand-sourced freight costs increased by $26.9 million. The bulk of ZESPRI’s shipping occurred during the peak in oil prices, resulting in an average per tonne rate of US$667 for the season, up from US$389 in the prior year. The movement in exchange rates had a significant impact over the previous year, leading to an increase of $52.8 million in returns to growers.

Net global kiwifruit sales increased 25 percent from $1.164 billion in 2007/08 to $1.451 billion in 2008/09. New Zealand-sourced kiwifruit volumes sold increased by 8 percent to a record 100 million trays. This increase was due to average orchard yields increasing by 6 percent, along with improved size profiles and increased pricing.

Chief Executive Lain Jager said that ZESPRI generated record returns in its key markets.

“Europe remained our largest market, with record sales of 60 million trays of kiwifruit which is a tremendous achievement for the ZESPRI Europe Team. The European market experienced increased demand for both ZESPRI® GREEN and ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit. The emerging markets of China, South East Asia and North America showed the strongest year-on-year performances, growing from 10.8 million trays to 13.7 million trays. These markets currently account for over 14 percent of the total New Zealand crop sold and will remain very important for the future growth of the business.”

The company intends to declare a final dividend for payment in August 2009 of 56 cents per fully paid share, in addition to the interim dividend (paid in December 2008) of 35 cents per share. A special dividend of 7.41 cents was paid in March 2009, this being the company’s 50 percent share of the proceeds from the ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit licence tender. This brings the total dividend for the 2008/09 year to 98.41 cents per share, representing 100 percent of available profits.

Mr Jager said that he is positive about ZESPRI’s ability to continue to grow strongly. “This growth will come from increased consumer penetration, strong growth in developing and emerging markets, new cultivars and investment in innovation.”

Mr Loughlin said maintaining the industry structure is essential to ensure future growth. “The integrated structure of our industry underpins our future growth strategy and is clearly in the best interests of New Zealand Kiwifruit growers, the kiwifruit category globally and the broader New Zealand economy.”
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Luke gives ZESPRI® YouthBank 100% from the Beginning | Media Release | 27 May 2009


When singer song writer, Luke Thompson, learned of the ZESPRI® YouthBank programme he was blown away there was such a programme available to young people. So when ZESPRI approached Luke to be the 2009 Ambassador for the programme he jumped on board wholeheartedly.

He sees it as a great chance to give a little back to the community he has grown up in. “What an incredible honour to have the opportunity to work with young people and see them grow from this experience. I’m a big fan of seeing young people involved in ‘real projects’, this is good stuff.” Lukes thoughts on giving what you can to your community are “it’s ‘normal’, it doesn’t have to be money, its time, its effort and it’s using your talent, whatever that might be, to make a difference to someone.”

ZESPRI® YouthBank is a programme, administered by the New Zeal Foundation in which 12 colleges throughout the Bay Of Plenty participate. Each school establishes a committee of students along with a teacher to supervise, and together they seek Not for Profit Organisations that need promotion and a little monetary assistance. The committees have a total of $2,000.00 to allocate with only a few criterion from ZESPRI and New Zeal, the recipient organisation will be a registered charitable entity and the maximum $500.00 grant must be to support a youth related project. Ultimately at least four Not for Profit organisations will benefit through each school.

Over the seven years the ZESPRI® YouthBank programme has run it has seen assistance being given to some 350 Youth focussed Not for Profits, while 100’s of students have learned skills to take with them into the future. These students will work as a team, promoting and marketing, developing strategies, and most importantly they will see what it means to make a difference in their own community.

Over the next few weeks each school will be asking the various Not for Profit Organisations to approach them with why they could benefit from being a recipient. Please see below a list of participating schools and their contacts.

ZESPRI and New Zeal see Luke as a great fit for the programme, a local celebrity who can relate to the Bay Of Plenty youth community and is so willing to give his time and talents to promote it. Luke will be on tour in Australia until the end of July and will return to New Zealand to motivate and contribute at the presentation evenings held in August. His Debut Album Here On The Ground is in stores now.
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ZESPRI Applauds the Primary Growth Partnership Initiative  | Media Release | 28 May 2009


The announcement today of the National Government funding initiative, which will herald an investment of an estimated $30 million for primary sector activities, has been warmly welcomed by ZESPRI.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager commended the government on the Primary Growth Partnership initiative saying, “This investment strategy reinforces the Government’s commitment to innovation as a strategic platform for the growth of New Zealand industry”.

“New Zealand has an enviable reputation for innovation and stellar performance within the primary sector. Additional financial support for research and development initiatives will stimulate economic growth and the realization of even greater opportunities on the international stage,” said Mr Jager.

ZESPRI’s own investment strategies for innovation in the kiwifruit industry have contributed significantly to the NZ economy. Over the last 10 years the kiwifruit industry has doubled in its export value to $780 million p.a., representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 7 percent. This growth rate is expected to continue.

The growth of the kiwifruit industry has been driven largely by innovation in orchard practices and the development of new cultivars. ZESPRI currently commands a premium position in the global market for New Zealand kiwifruit and is able to maintain this through an intimate understanding of customers and consumer needs.

The opportunity to partner with the government for additional innovation and investment opportunities is expected to deliver numerous benefits; continued improvements to fruit quality, taste and health benefits, as well as the development and future introduction of new kiwifruit varieties.

ZESPRI will seek to work closely with the government to partner in investment projects and implement initiatives which will enhance orchard productivity and deliver profits directly to more than 3,000 New Zealand kiwifruit growers, in order to support the continued growth and success of the industry.
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ZESPRI Awarded Best Logistic Strategy for China | Media Release | 17 June 2009


ZESPRI International Limited was awarded Best Logistics Strategy for China at last night’s New Zealand China Trade Association (NZCTA) award ceremony.

The Best Logistics Strategy for China Award was hotly contested and the calibre of finalists was high.

Accepting the award on behalf of all New Zealand Kiwifruit growers, ZESPRI Director Corporate and Grower Services Carol Ward, acknowledged the important role that China makes to ZESPRI’s current and future growth strategy.

“These awards recognise the value of trade partnerships with China and foster stronger ties between our two countries. It is an honour and a privilege for ZESPRI to be recognised for our work in China.

“China currently accounts for six percent of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit sales and is a key market for growth. Based on current growth rates, it is realistic to anticipate that within a 10-year timeframe, China and Hong Kong could form up to 20 percent of our total business,” said Ms Ward.

A critical component of ensuring success in a market as diverse and complex as China, is ZESPRI’s comprehensive logistics and distribution strategy, recognised by the NZCTA as best in class.

The logistics strategy incorporates numerous partners including local New Zealand Kiwifruit growers, packhouses and coolstores, shipping and transport companies, and a network of wholesale and retail distribution outlets in China.

Coordinating the timely delivery of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit into the China market is particularly critical at the start of the New Zealand Kiwifruit season. Supported by an innovative local marketing strategy, early sales of New Zealand grown kiwifruit provide a strong platform for continued sales growth across the season.

The demonstrated efficiency of the China logistics strategy has already reaped rewards for ZESPRI and New Zealand Kiwifruit growers. Sales volumes in the 2008/09 year were 28 percent up on the 2007/08 year. ZESPRI’s distribution network across China is set to expand even further.

“ZESPRI’s success in China and the recognition of this success by the New Zealand China Trade Association Award, is reflective of both the strength of our current marketing structure and ZESPRI’s strong performance within that structure,” said Mr Peter Ombler, President New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated.
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ZESPRI to View Report | Media Release | 29 June 2009


ZESPRI International Limited will this week review the NERA report on industry issues reported in media today.

Carol Ward, ZESPRI’s Director – Corporate and Grower Services, said the company would be interested to see what value, if any, it might offer in terms of improving the industry’s productivity, market penetration and presence, and profitability.

However, Ms Ward said the suggestion to deregulate the kiwifruit industry was not supported by growers, the post-harvest sector, the company’s international marketing experts or government, and was therefore not on the agenda.

She said ZESPRI would be happy for Turners & Growers Limited, who currently account for less than 1 percent of the industry, to develop additional collaborative marketing proposals if they could be shown to increase overall wealth to New Zealand generally and New Zealand Kiwifruit growers specifically.

Ms Ward said the collaborative marketing mechanism was already used successfully by Turners & Growers for its Pacific export operations and by around a dozen other companies. More than 70 percent of collaborative marketing applications are approved by the industry’s regulator and most were financially successful, she said.

Like any ZESPRI supplier and shareholder, Turners & Growers had a role to play in the kiwifruit industry, but a 1 percent player cannot expect to determine policy for the whole industry.
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Industry Sets New Record for Loading Kiwifruit | Media Release | 20 July 2009


One hundred percent of the New Zealand-grown ZESPRI® Kiwifruit crop has been picked and packed and over 50 percent has been shipped to overseas markets to date. The kiwifruit industry’s supply chain partners have pulled together by breaking records loading two vessels at unprecedented speed this month.

ZESPRI® Kiwifruit was loaded onto Seatrade-operated reefer vessel Hansa Lubeck, in 16.5 hours using an eight pallet lifting cage. Historically 24 hours has been the benchmark so this was an outstanding result and a remarkable achievement for the industry. The Fresh Carriers Corporation-operated Asian Brier, which loads only two pallets at a time, was loaded in 21.5 hours, a week later which is another record load.

Ian Mearns, General Manager of Tauranga Kiwifruit Logistics Limited, the company which coordinates the New Zealand ship loading operations, commented:

“This is an outstanding effort by the whole industry - the growers, coolstores, transport companies, stevedores and ZESPRI. I attribute this result to a number of things including, product availability, additional buffer store space at the Port of Tauranga and the stevedores’ general performance. Everyone seems to be energised and motivated to be working harder than ever-before which is great to see. We really rolled-up our sleeves and worked together to get the job done. It is a good example of all parties, irrespective of which company you represent, working together with a common focus.”

Sally Gardiner, ZESPRI Supply Chain General Manager, remarked that streamlining of some processes had contributed to a smooth operation this season. “Most notably we have enhanced shipping documentation, planning and order execution, data and process. These improvements ensure that the industry is ready and willing to constantly evolve where possible in order to deliver the fruit to the markets in full, on time and maximise returns for kiwifruit growers.”

The final shipment of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit is expected to leave the Port of Tauranga in the first week of August. As the season for ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit is much longer, shipping continues for ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit through to November. The final ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit shipment has been scheduled to depart the Port of Tauranga mid-November, bound for Asia.

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ZESPRI AGM Celebrates a Successful Year | Media Release | 22 July 2009


The ZESPRI Annual General Meeting, held today in Tauranga, attracted over 500 grower shareholders and interested parties.

Grower shareholders came to listen to ZESPRI Directors and executive team members present the financial performance of the company over the past 12 months and to hear about how ZESPRI will maximise grower returns in the challenging year ahead.

Chairman John Loughlin and CEO Lain Jager presented the 2008/09 highlights in the context of the past 10 years of ZESPRI history. ZESPRI has successfully doubled the size of the market and the export earnings with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8%.

The 2008/09 season celebrated the record breaking production achievement of 100 million trays of New Zealand Kiwifruit and fruit and service payments to the industry of $800 million. A brilliant result for growers in the current economic climate. This translates directly into a final dividend payment for growers next month of 56 cents per share, which brings the full year dividend to 98.41 cents per share; up 22 percent on last year’s dividend and again represents 100 percent of available profits.

Highlights of the meeting included:
  • Growers voiced their overwhelming support for the industry structure and its importance for the future. There was strong criticism of recent initiatives by 1% shareholder Turners & Growers, whose representative at the meeting declined an offer from the Chairman to speak; 
  •  Industry and grower excitement about the ZESPRI and Plant & Food Research New Cultivar Breeding and Evaluation Programme and the allocation of trial sites across the NZ growing regions;
  • An announcement regarding the expansion of the new cultivar breeding and evaluation programme, requiring an additional 13.5 ha across NZ. This follows promising results from orchard, supply chain and consumer trials of the four most advanced varieties under evaluation. Leading pre-commercial grower block trial sites have been selected and grafting of the budwood will now take place. This was received with much excitement and enthusiasm from growers; and
  • A proposal to the industry that the net ZESPRI commission should be further reduced by approximately $10 million annually to around 7% of net sales. ZESPRI’s current commission as a percentage of net revenue is 7.7% of net sales and has reduced from approximately 11% in 1999. The proposal for a further reduction recognises the need to equitably share the superior returns earned from the industry’s structure between growers and shareholders.
One key agenda item was the election of Directors to the ZESPRI Board following the retirement, by rotation, of three Directors – Keith Thorpe, Tony de Farias and Graham Cathie. Keith Thorpe, a Director for the past six years and Graham Cathie, a Director for the past eight years, both advised that they would not be seeking re-election and officially completed their term at the AGM.

The following appointments have been confirmed:
Vacancy 1 - Ray Sharp
Vacancy 2 - Tony de Farias
Vacancy 3 - Tony Marks

The ZESPRI Chairman, John Loughlin, officially welcomes the Directors to the Board. “On behalf of the ZESPRI Board and executive team, we look forward to working together to progress a number of key initiatives including the ZESPRI new cultivar program and market expansion over the coming years,” said Mr Loughlin.

2009 AGM Chairman and CEO Speeches
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ZESPRI® Kiwifruit Exports Ahead of Schedule | Media Release | 11 August 2009


The New Zealand Kiwifruit season has passed the half way mark and 100 percent of the ZESPRI® Kiwifruit crop has been picked and packed.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager describes this season as one of the most promising yet challenging years for kiwifruit. “ZESPRI® Kiwifruit are delicious this season and the quality of the fruit is well above last year. On the back of a strong and early start to the season we have achieved solid sales volumes in all markets to date. Although we have passed the significant half way mark in a strong position, there are still challenges ahead,” said Mr Jager.

“The economic environment will continue to affect consumer spending and we will need to work harder and smarter to ensure that ZESPRI® Kiwifruit continue to maintain strong sales as competing summer fruit volumes increase,” he added.

Shipping:

Of this year’s crop of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit, just over 65 percent has already been shipped to international markets and is being actively marketed at a retail level. Shipping volumes are 3 percent ahead of shipping volumes for the same time last year.

Export charter shipments of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, which historically has an earlier season than ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit, have completed. The final 1.3 million trays of export charter ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit left the Port of Tauranga last week bound for Asian markets.

The Regulus, a Fresh Carriers Company vessel, departed the Port of Tauranga carrying the remaining export charter ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit to Tokyo and Osaka in Japan and Pusan in Korea. It holds around 4,618 pallets of kiwifruit under deck and 36 40-foot containers (each containing 20 pallets) of kiwifruit on deck. The shipment is due to arrive in Tokyo on the 16th of August 2009.

Shipping of ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit will continue through to November 2009, with ships departing on a regular basis for Asia and Europe.

To date, 18 Asian charter vessels, 23 European and 2 North American vessels have departed New Zealand carrying ZESPRI® Kiwifruit. Continual improvements in packing and loading have provided efficiencies and contribute to reduced overall shipping costs.

Fruit Quality:

The quality and taste of this season’s ZESPRI® GREEN and GOLD Kiwifruit is outstanding. The GOLD has a more intense sweetness and the GREEN tang is unmistakable. Superior fruit quality compared to competitor products allows ZESPRI to achieve price premiums for its kiwifruit in nearly all markets.

Marketing Activities:

In-market wholesale and retail sales of ZESPRI® GREEN and GOLD Kiwifruit has been buoyed by a strong ZESPRI® Brand presence in each market. Television advertising, print campaigns, outdoor displays, product sampling and in-store promotional activities are in full swing across Japan, Europe, East Asia, South East Asia and North America. Innovative consumer promotions and competitions continue to drive sales volumes over competitive products and incoming summer fruits.

NB: While all exporter charter shipments of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit are now complete, a small volume of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit trays has been allocated for sale and will be shipped in containers by the end of August.

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City MP Goes Country | Media Release | 14 August 2009


In a visit to the Bay of Plenty this week for a series of meetings with Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, Nikki Kaye MP for Auckland Central, took time out to visit the kiwifruit industry and meet with ZESPRI employees.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager welcomed Nikki and Simon, saying that he “was delighted to host them and is fully supportive of MPs getting closer to industry in order to fully understand the value that is delivered to New Zealand”. Lain was also encouraged by their support for ZESPRI and the industry structure. Simon Bridges reiterated his support for ZESPRI and the industry structure, informing the group that he had shared his personal views with Minister Carter and the Prime Minister.

During discussions with ZESPRI and NZKGI representatives, Simon and Nikki had the opportunity to learn more about the kiwifruit industry, which employs over 20,000 full time and seasonal workers, and contributes approximately 20% to the Bay of Plenty GDP. With over 100 million trays of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit shipped to international markets, ZESPRI’s focus is on high quality kiwifruit, innovation and consumer marketing, to enable premium returns to flow back to growers.

Nikki and Simon also took the opportunity to meet with local kiwifruit growers and to tour a packhouse.

Mahaki Ellis, Chairman of the Ngai Tukairangi Trust and Te Awanui Huka Pak Ltd., voiced his firm support of the SPE to Nikki and Simon, stating that “as a purely commercial operation that supports a large number of Maori workers, any change to the industry eats immediately into the bottom line and I certainly don’t want to see that happen”.

Mahaki explained to Nikki and Simon what business was like under a multi-exporter industry structure prior to the introduction of the SPE and spoke passionately of his concern that a return to those days would signal the demise of the industry and undermine all the hard work put into the orchards by growers.

Simon responded by saying that he understood that the power rests with the growers and that their voices needed to be heard loudly. He encouraged them to talk to other growers. Nikki and Simon both commented on the importance of the kiwifruit industry to the Bay of Plenty as well as to New Zealand as a whole, impressed by current achievements and the potential for the future.

During a short tour of the Te Awanui Huka Pak packhouse, Nikki and Simon were visibly impressed with the scale of the 24 hour operations, the volume of fruit that is moved in a day, employment numbers and the technology employed to grade the fruit.

Te Awanui Huka Pak is amongst the largest single site kiwifruit packhouse with a production potential of over 5 million trays.

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Luke Sings to Inspire Students | Media Release | 24 August 2009


Over 200 students, teachers and community group representatives were entertained this
month by local singer / songwriter, Luke Thompson, as the 2009 ZESPRI® YouthBank
Ambassador.

The ZESPRI® YouthBank awards ceremonies, held in Tauranga and Ohope this month,
provided the students with the opportunity to present funding to their chosen recipients
while being rewarded for their participation in the programme with inspirational words
from the ambassador.

Luke delivered a heartfelt speech about the importance of being able to give a little back
in any way you can. “Your riches in life will come from your friends, family and
experiences, not from your possessions,” he said. Luke appealed to the students to
follow their dreams and ideas and to think about what they really want to do as they
come to the end of their school years and enter a new phase in their lives. Luke also
rewarded the students with a sneak preview of songs from his new album and a
collection of his older songs.

One student, Amy Taylor from Mount Maunganui College, commented that she had
learned so much from the programme such as team work, speech writing and public
speaking. “I also learned that even the smallest gestures of giving can make the world of
difference to those in need. It was really cool that we got to meet and have photos with
Luke – he is a good singer and his music is fun.”

ZESPRI® YouthBank is a community sponsorship scheme where 12 Bay of Plenty
secondary schools receive $2,000 each to allocate to non-profit youth-related projects in
their community. With a maximum grant allowable of $500 per recipient, the students
take responsibility for promoting the scheme, assessing each application against criteria
they’ve developed and selecting the successful recipients.

This year’s recipients took the opportunity to thank Luke, ZESPRI and organisers New
Zeal Foundation for being involved in a programme that really makes a difference in
their communities and outlined what they would use the money for.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, spoke to students
about the importance of being aware of the communities around them and was moved
by the diversity of the organisations receiving funding. “It’s a tribute to the students.
They have obviously put a lot of thought into who their recipients will be with funding
provided to initiatives from school orchards, to clothes purchases for the children that
come through Women’s Refuge, to youth training in the Order of Saint Johns. It’s such
an honour to be involved in this programme and see our Bay of Plenty communities
benefit in so many ways.”

This year over 88 students were involved in ZESPRI® YouthBank, investing in their
communities by donating funds to 57 non-profit organisations. The secondary schools
involved were: Edgecumbe College, Trident High School, Whakatane High School,
Opotiki College, Te Puke High School, Aquinas College, Bethlehem College, Mount
Maunganui College, Otumoetai College, Tauranga Boys College, Tauranga Girls College
and Katikati College.

The schools worked closely throughout the year with programme administrators, New
Zeal Foundation, who developed the YouthBank concept in 2003. New Zeal’s Graham
Hare works with the student committees throughout the process, assisting with selection
criteria and ensuring that all recipients are registered charitable trusts.

“It was a fantastic sight to see the sense of accomplishment on the students’ faces and
the gratitude from recipients. All who are involved in the programme should feel very
proud of the achievements this year,” said Graham.
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Stable Forecast Despite Challenging Marketplace | Media Release | 22 October 2009


In its latest industry forecast, ZESPRI has announced a $48 million increase in payments to growers, compared with last season, despite a challenging market.

The company anticipates that final payments will be $827 million ($8.06 per tray), compared with $779 million ($7.59 per tray) last year. This is an increase of $22.3 million (or $0.08 per tray) over the forecast released in August, and represents an increase in payments for GREEN and GOLD Kiwifruit, with no change for GREEN ORGANIC.

Chief Executive Lain Jager says the forecast reflects positive impacts from reduced costs (particularly fuel) and improved foreign exchange movements compared with last season, which have helped offset the pricing impacts of a tough sales environment on GREEN and GREEN ORGANIC.

“It’s important to note that this is only a forecast and we have a way to go in most markets. At this stage GREEN pricing and sales volumes are tracking as expected as we work our way to a positive close for the GREEN season, and this has allowed us to marginally lift per-tray and per-hectare returns for GREEN growers in this latest forecast. At $6.91 the return is $0.07 down on last year but on a positive note for growers, good fruit quality with lower onshore fruit loss and fruit handling costs, have resulted in an extra 19 cents compared with the August forecast, for growers at Orchard Gate Return level. This delivers average forecast Orchard Gate Returns (net of post-harvest costs) of $29,033 per hectare, or about $1,000 down compared with last year.

The world fruit market has been severely impacted by the global recession this year with many produce growers globally experiencing much lower returns than in previous seasons. “The relative stability of ZESPRI’s result in this environment can be attributed to a number of factors, including a strong marketing campaign focused on health, vitality and nutrition; a weaker New Zealand dollar against ZESPRI’s key trading currencies; and an outstanding performance by growers and post-harvest operators to deliver shipments in specification and on time.”

The integrated industry structure enabled the industry to proactively manage supply with commercial decisions taken early by ZESPRI and growers regarding the size profile and volume of GREEN Kiwifruit. “We asked growers to thin their fruit in order to optimize the size profile and we worked with growers to leave some lower quality crops on the vine at the start of the season,” said Lain. “The crop management early in the season was about optimising market allocations and grower returns and those who know our industry and fruit business understand that. It’s about allocating and phasing fruit supply to genuinely meet demand requirements and optimising fruit quality for both the trade and consumers.”

“This year has been about reacting flexibly and commercially in a difficult and dynamic market and we needed to reduce volumes and reduce price in some markets to sell through the crop in an orderly manner. Our strategy was to start strongly in all markets and align pricing appropriately to ensure that our high quality offering was perceived as being good value in a year of uncertainty and financial pressure for consumers.”

For GREEN ORGANIC, per-tray returns are forecast to be down by 5 percent from last year to $8.81 per tray, with no change from the August Forecast. “GREEN ORGANIC growers are feeling the impacts of the global recession more than our other categories,” said Lain. “This demonstrates a short-term shift by less-frequent organic consumers towards conventional products at cheaper pricing.”

“It is important to note that this positive market performance does not take away from the fact that GREEN returns have not been where they need to be over recent seasons and this year has been another challenging season.”

Lain Jager will discuss the 3-year outlook for each category with growers at meetings being held throughout the country in November. “Despite the challenges of an increasing world supply of Hayward, we see some real opportunities for the GREEN business over the next three years.”

The GOLD forecast is a completely different story to GREEN and reflects the returns possible from a new cultivar for which ZESPRI holds the Plant Variety Rights. GOLD Fruit and Service Payments are set to be $11.99 per tray, compared with $9.70 last season.

“This is an extraordinary result in a challenging year,” said Lain. “It reflects the superb quality of the fruit, and the fact that we’re seeing strong repurchase patterns by consumers as they begin to prefer GOLD to other fruits. This year, demand exceeded supply which led to strong market pricing and an early close to the season. The forecast return is also reflective of the positive Yen/Kiwi exchange, given a high portion of the GOLD crop is sold in Japan.

Chairman John Loughlin said: “While the year is not done yet, the October forecast represents a satisfactory result in a year where many fruit growers around the world have been devastated by a difficult market, supply and demand imbalances, and weak selling.”

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ZESPRI Eyes Further Investment in Malaysia | Media Release | 27 October 2009


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: ZESPRI, the world’s largest marketer of Kiwifruit, today welcomed the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and Malaysia.

Speaking from the FTA signing in Kuala Lumpur, ZESPRI CEO, Lain Jager, said Malaysia had grown to be one of the company’s most important markets in South East Asia, with an annual turnover of $8 million.

“Kiwifruit is New Zealand’s 7th largest export to Malaysia and today’s FTA signing is an exciting step towards strengthening NZ-Malaysia trade opportunities for ZESPRI and for New Zealand.

“Malaysia presents significant future growth opportunities for our industry and we already have plans to boost our staff presence here to help educate Malaysian consumers about the nutritional benefits of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit. The elimination of the 15 percent tariff paid on kiwifruit from 2010 makes this market even more attractive. I congratulate the New Zealand Government for securing such a positive outcome for our industry.”

Innovative trade and consumer marketing to a growing population of health conscious Malaysians has helped grow ZESPRI® Kiwifruit volumes in Malaysia in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

“Sales have grown over 80 percent in the past two years and next year we’re aiming to sell over 1,000,000 trays through our strong local distribution partners. ZESPRI® Kiwifruit are now available throughout the country in large supermarket chains such as Giant, TESCO, JUSCO and Carrefour.”

Mr Jager said kiwifruit consumption is relatively low in Malaysia, as it is not grown locally and therefore has not traditionally been part of the diet. “ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit is still preferred but Malaysians are starting to get to know the sweeter taste of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit with sales up over 100 percent in 2009. As the specific nutritional benefits become more widely known, we anticipate further double digit sales growth.”

Following his visit to Kuala Lumpur, Lain will be speaking at the second Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum in Tokyo, which will bring together senior Japanese and New Zealand government officials and business leaders.

The announcement of a Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia follows the signing earlier this year of an FTA between the South East Asian Nations, Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA). Tariff reductions resulting from that agreement will also help ZESPRI’s growth plans for Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
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Kiwifruit Exporters Working Together | Kiwifruit Exporters Working Together | 30 October 2009


Following the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and Malaysia, ZESPRI is attributing much of the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry’s success in Malaysia to collaborative marketing programmes between New Zealand exporters.

Under the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999, any person or company can undertake collaborative marketing with ZESPRI, if approved to do so by industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand.

ZESPRI Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said that collaborative marketing programmes helped develop Malaysia as a market 10 years ago and today almost half of New Zealand Kiwifruit sales into Malaysia were through collaborative marketing programmes.

“Forty-six percent of the industry’s total Malaysian sales of 822,000 trays are sold through collaborative marketing programmes,” said Ms Ward. “In addition, 30 percent of Indonesian sales, and 100 percent of sales into the Philippines are through collaborative marketing programmes.”

“For the Malaysia market, there are three exporters of New Zealand Kiwifruit – ZESPRI, Te Awanui HukaPak and Fruitlynx Marketing Limited. They work in collaboration on budgets, forecasting, performance reporting, logistics and customer relations.”

Tracey Burns, Export Manager, from fresh produce company Fruitlynx Marketing Limited, part of Freshmax NZ, said: “We work alongside ZESPRI and HukaPak, who are all focused on boosting kiwifruit sales in that part of the world and cooperating for the good of New Zealand Kiwifruit growers.

“Our Malaysian distributor was importing quite a lot of Chilean kiwifruit as part of their substantial fruit import business, but a few years ago we identified an opportunity to boost the category with a premium kiwifruit offering, supported by high quality advertising and promotion of ZESPRI-branded kiwifruit. As a result of gaining retailer support, our volumes have increased significantly – with our GREEN sales growing by 44 percent this past year.”

With the FTA signed, ZESPRI is planning to add to its team of local distributors and marketing agencies by appointing a fulltime local ZESPRI Marketing Manager to step up its programme to educate Malaysians about the nutritional goodness of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.

Sir Brian Elwood, Chairman of Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ), the regulating body responsible for administering the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999 and approving collaborative marketing programmes, said in a recent letter to growers that: “KNZ must be satisfied that growers will be ‘better off’ as a result of a collaborative marketing arrangement which it approves.”

“There are currently 12 exporters of New Zealand-grown kiwifruit to countries other than Australia (about 20 if Australia is included). Historically, about 80 percent of all collaborative marketing applications are approved by Kiwifruit New Zealand as meeting the regulatory requirements.”
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Government and ZESPRI Announce $35.7 Million Investment | Media Release | 9 November 2009


The Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, Minister of Research Science and Technology, has announced a $35.7 million dollar investment into a seven-year ZESPRI / Plant & Food Research programme to develop new kiwifruit varieties.

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology will contribute $15.2 million to the programme with ZESPRI contributing $20.5 million. Plant & Food Research will partner with ZESPRI and the Foundation to form the world’s largest and most significant research and development (R&D) programme into new kiwifruit varieties.

The investment in this consortium demonstrates the government’s commitment to the horticulture sector and to achieving targets for growing New Zealand’s export earnings from horticulture.

The horticulture sector aims to double the value of its earnings to $10 billion per annum by 2020.

“By investing in the most rigorous and exacting kiwifruit R&D programme, we can ensure that new generations of New Zealand Kiwifruit are the best in the world and that their commercial success delivers value and export earnings to New Zealand and New Zealand growers,” said Mr Lain Jager, CEO ZESPRI.

Foundation Chief Executive Murray Bain says the size of the investment is consistent with the importance of the kiwifruit industry to New Zealand.

“We have world leading breeding expertise at Plant & Food Research being matched with ZESPRI’s track record of success with ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit. This long term funding provides a strong platform to produce new cultivars that will be significant export earners for New Zealand.”

The injection of $35.7 million over seven years will enable ZESPRI and Plant & Food Research to significantly up-scale their joint kiwifruit breeding programme.

“By investing in a proven partnership, we are able to make a step increase in the number of new cultivars developed in the breeding programme and introduce cutting edge plant breeding, screening and evaluation technologies to gain greater efficiencies and reduce the time to market,” said Mr Bruce Campbell, COO Plant & Food Research.

ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, a product of the existing breeding programme, currently worth over $468 million in global revenues annually, is an industry success story and a benchmark for all new cultivar R&D.

The research programme will target development of new varieties differentiated by their appearance, sensory or health attributes.

“As we fill the research pipeline and bring a number of new cultivars to the market, it is realistic to expect that within the term of this consortium, one outstanding cultivar will emerge and be commercially released with forecast sales of NZ$300 million,” said Mr Jager.

By integrating the investment in R&D with a defined and successful pathway to market, New Zealand Kiwifruit growers will benefit from the efficiencies of an integrated industry structure.
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ZESPRI Chairman Honoured | Media Release | 19 November 2009


At last week’s AGM for the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, held in Wellington, Mr John Loughlin received the prestigious honour of Fellowship of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.

As one of only 24 Members to be conferred a Fellowship this year, John Loughlin of the Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Institute has a long list of achievements to his name.

As Chairman of ZESPRI Group Limited since 2008 and an Independent Director since 2002, John has brought significant value to ZESPRI

“John has been involved with ZESPRI for over seven years and has played a pivotal role in directing the organisation’s growth and success over this period,” said Mr Lain Jager, ZESPRI CEO.

“We are delighted that John has been honoured by the Institute for his achievements and contributions and we are extremely proud to have a person of this calibre as our Chairman,” added Mr Jager.

John’s professional advice and sound judgment has been sought after by many other organisations. John also holds the position of Chairman with Allied Farmers Limited, Allied Nationwide Finance Limited and Tru-Test Corporation Limited. John is a Director of Metlifecare Limited, Port of Napier Limited, Kermadec Property Fund Limited, Taupo Motorsport Park Limited, and Centralines Limited. He is a former Issuer Appointee to NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal. 

As well as contributing to the success of many New Zealand businesses over the course of his career, John and his wife have spent the last 16 years developing a vineyard and the award-winning Askerne winery business in Hawke's Bay.

Fellowships from the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants are a high level award, conferred on members who demonstrate excellence and achievement in their field, bringing distinction to the accounting profession and promoting the core values of quality, integrity and expertise.

Members are nominated by their peers in a strictly confidential process and the decision of the Council is handed down at the AGM each year.

At the 2009 AGM, 24 Institute members from New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom were recognised for their valued contribution to the accounting profession and honoured with Fellowships.

The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants represents over 32,000 members both in New Zealand and around the world. 

Information about the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants can be found at www.nzica.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home1
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ZESPRI Focused on Selling Kiwifruit | Media Release | 25 November 2009


ZESPRI International Limited says it is focused on ensuring a successful finish to the New Zealand Kiwifruit selling season, and will not become publicly engaged in the detail of trade policy issues reported in the domestic media this week.

A spokeswoman for ZESPRI, Carol Ward, confirmed that earlier this year unsolicited information had come to the company’s attention which suggested efforts were underway to compromise the New Zealand Government’s trade policy.

“ZESPRI was concerned that the activities that had come to our attention were unhelpful to New Zealand’s national interest and international relations and the Minister has confirmed that. As he has said, it appears that Turners & Growers, having failed to convince New Zealand Kiwifruit growers or the New Zealand Government of the merits of its case, has now turned to seeking to work with foreign governments,” Ms Ward said.

“ZESPRI is grateful for the Minister’s assistance and for his public reconfirmation of the New Zealand Government’s policy that it will support ZESPRI and our SPE marketing arrangements for as long as they have the support of growers. Given the commercial and diplomatic sensitivities of these matters, it is not appropriate for us to provide more detailed public comment.”
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ZESPRI Dismisses Taskforce Suggestion | Media Release | 30 November 2009


ZESPRI considers the 2025 Productivity Taskforce recommendation to remove the kiwifruit regulations as completely unacceptable. ZESPRI Chairman John Loughlin said the recommendation would lead to a significant productivity drop and a reduction in New Zealand’s export earnings.

“In the last 10 years, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry has doubled in size and value, significantly contributing to the New Zealand economy and delivering wealth to New Zealand kiwifruit growers,” said Mr Loughlin.

Worth over $987 million in export earnings in 2009, and set to reach over $2 billion by 2020, the kiwifruit industry will continue to play a significant role in achieving Horticulture New Zealand’s export earnings target of $10 billion by 2020.

“A change in the industry structure would prevent the realisation of these growth targets and would be a backwards step for the country. New Zealand growers realise the value of our industry structure every single day – growers do not trade in economic theory, they deal in economic reality.”

“The success of the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry is the envy of other primary producers. Deregulation would promote price competition amongst New Zealand exporters which would lead to a drop in export earnings with many orchardists forced to exit the industry – this is not a viable strategy for productivity growth. An example close to home is the apple industry which was deregulated in 2001 - its export earnings have stagnated, remaining at similar levels to 2001 ($339m).”




















Mr Loughlin says the structure of the kiwifruit industry is critical to the continued success of the industry and the horticulture sector. The regulated structure puts ZESPRI as the primary exporter to countries other than Australia. Other companies can export kiwifruit through Collaborative Marketing arrangements, which are independently approved by industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand.

The New Zealand Government has clearly stated its position that it will support ZESPRI and the regulated industry structure for as long as they have the support of growers. Deregulation is therefore not on the agenda. “Growers will appreciate the level of confidence this provides for continued investment in orchard productivity, research and innovation, and export market development,” said Mr Loughlin.
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New Zealand Kiwifruit Export Programme Now Complete | Media Release | 21 December 2009


ZESPRI’s final shipments of New Zealand Kiwifruit have now been completed, signalling the end of a successful export season for the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry.

ZESPRI General Manager Supply Chain, Sally Gardiner, said that the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry has exported 99.8 million trays of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit (approximately 3.3 billion single pieces of kiwifruit) using 59 charter vessels and 5,616 containers this season. In the December Forecast grower returns are set to increase by NZ$46.8 million to $825.8 million, when compared with last year. “This is a strong result in a very challenging economic environment,” said Sally.

“ZESPRI growers have delivered fruit to meet the premium quality requirements of our international customers, and our post-harvest partners have reacted flexibly in an ever-changing market environment to ensure that fruit is delivered on time, in full, and to specification (DIFOTIS). In fact, this year is the first time ever that our suppliers have exceeded targets set for delivery, achieving DIFOTIS targets of 90 percent or better.”

The Hamburg Sud vessel ‘Cap Manuel’ departed the Port of Tauranga, bound for China, on Thursday 3 December 2009 with the final container shipments of New Zealand ZESPRI® Kiwifruit on board for the 2009 Season. The vessel is scheduled to arrive at the Shanghai and Nansha ports this week.

ZESPRI Shipping Manager, Mike Knowles, commented that this year has seen a unified effort by the industry. “This year we started the shipping season earlier than ever before with a week 12 (22 March) shipment of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit to Japan. We then managed to secure our largest ever below-deck shipment of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit aboard the Sunbelt Spirit carcarrier in April and loading records were broken at the Port of Tauranga in July. It’s a credit to the whole industry that it has been able to supply such a high volume of export quality fruit again this season,’’ he said.

Sally Gardiner said all New Zealand ZESPRI® Kiwifruit had been shipped and 97 percent has been sold across all varieties and markets. As the New Zealand selling season draws to a close, ZESPRI has recently commenced its Northern Hemisphere selling programme which will run through until March 2010.

ZESPRI General Manager Global Supply, Simon Limmer, said: “ZESPRI is now focused on selling high quality ZESPRI® GOLD and GREEN Kiwifruit grown in the Northern hemisphere, which further strengthens the ZESPRI® Brand and helps secure retail shelf-space for 12 months of the year with key customers in Europe, Japan and East Asia.”

In Europe, around 2.2 million trays of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit are expected from Italy for allocation in Europe and an additional 1.2 million trays to Asia. This volume represents a 2 percent increase on last year’s production volume. Approximately 138,000 trays of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit are expected to be procured from France this season which is an increase of more than 100 percent on last year’s 67,000 trays. In addition, approximately 4.5 million trays of ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit, sourced to ZESPRI’s quality standards, will be available from Italy and France.

In Asia, 600,000 trays of ZESPRI® GOLD Class 1 Kiwifruit are expected to be procured from Korea, and approximately 490,000 trays of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit are expected from Japan.

The duration of the Northern Hemisphere supply season is from harvest and packing in late October to end of November/early December, through to the end of the sales season in early 2010.

December Forecast Holds Steady

The latest New Zealand industry forecast depicts a $46.8 million (or $0.50 per tray) increase in fruit and service payments to growers, when compared with the 2008/09 season, with minimal change from the forecast released in October. This represents a solid forecast in a selling season categorised by uncertainty and financial pressure, and can be attributed to a collaborative industry effort to maintain quality and delivery standards, and a strong in-market advertising and promotional effort.

The particularly strong result for ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit reflects the strong market pricing due to demand exceeding supply, and positive impacts from the Yen/Kiwi exchange rate, given a high portion of the GOLD crop is sold in Japan.


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Early Start Heralds another Successful Season | Media Release | 12 March 2010


The 2010 kiwifruit season looks likely to enjoy similar success to 2009, with today’s harvest echoing last year’s early start to the season. Early indications on the volume, quality and taste of the fruit also suggest that 2010 will be another good year for the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry.

Some growers began harvesting ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit today, while ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit and ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit growers will begin harvesting their fruit in a few weeks time.

Confidence is high from growers and ZESPRI grower, Doug Brown, who grows both GREEN and GOLD Kiwifruit, said that overall, the coming season looks very positive.

“I’m looking forward to a good season. Our GOLD Kiwifruit taste great and GREEN is looking good too.”

ZESPRI Shipping Manager, Mike Knowles, said the first ZESPRI® Kiwifruit shipments will leave New Zealand in late March, destined for ZESPRI’s key markets of Europe and Japan, in time to capitalise on the buzz generated by early season marketing programmes.

“One of these early ships will be the brand new Fresh Carriers Corporation-operated MV Lady Rosebay on its maiden voyage to Zeebrugge in Europe.”

Director Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said it is an exciting time for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry coming off the back of a successful 2009 season.

“I’ve recently attended a number of grower meetings and it was fantastic to see the positive feeling across the industry, heading into the 2010 season. Worldwide, people are beginning to recover from the economic downturn which bodes well for our industry.

“ZESPRI continues to invest aggressively in overseas marketing and in research and development, including on-orchard productivity and new cultivars, to secure the best possible returns for New Zealand Kiwifruit growers,” she said.

ZESPRI is currently assessing four new kiwifruit varieties - one early and two long-life gold varieties and an earlier, sweeter green kiwifruit.

Harvesting of these new kiwifruit varieties commenced on 4 March 2010 and rigorous harvest, packing, storage and in-market tests are currently underway to ensure ZESPRI has enough robust information to make a commercialisation decision in June 2010. ZESPRI is also currently seeking industry input on potential licence allocation mechanisms.

In the coming months, around 25,000 people, mostly seasonal workers, will be employed by the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry to harvest, pack and ship ZESPRI® GREEN, GOLD and GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit, injecting millions of dollars into the New Zealand economy.
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ZESPRI Supports Creation of NZ Productivity Commission | Media Release | 18 March 2010


ZESPRI International Limited says it is pleased about the creation of a new Productivity Commission, announced by the Minister of Finance and the Minister for Regulatory Reform today.

Chief Executive, Lain Jager, said productivity was a critical factor in improving the rate of economic growth in New Zealand and was the key factor driving the global success of the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry.

“Productivity is the foundation to remaining competitive globally,” said Mr Jager. “While cost reduction is important, the reality is that our global competitiveness will be driven by our rate of innovation and productivity improvement. New Zealand is never going to be the lowest cost producer of primary products, ultimately our global competitiveness will be driven by our ability to innovate and lift productivity faster than our competitors. That’s why we see today’s announcement as an effective and important step towards improved wealth for New Zealand producers and the economy overall.”

“Productivity improvements have been fundamental to the continued viability of the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry in the face of strong competition from Chile as a lower cost producer of kiwifruit. We have doubled export value and volumes over the last 10 years and we are expecting the same rate of growth for the next 10 years through investing in marketing and distribution – particularly in high growth markets, broadening our product portfolio through the introduction of great new products to earn new shelf space and delight consumers, and constant productivity improvement.”

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Kiwifruit Sets Sail | Media Release | 26 March 2010


The New Zealand kiwifruit season’s first shipment will depart for Japan this weekend, several days ahead of schedule, and will be one of the earliest shipments of both ZESPRI® GREEN and GOLD Kiwifruit together, ever.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said the early shipment was a testament to the hard work of growers, post-harvest operators and ZESPRI staff, and reflected the high global demand for ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.

“Consumer demand for top quality ZESPRI® GREEN, GOLD and ORGANIC Kiwifruit is very high. Japan is a strong market for ZESPRI due both to the large volumes we export there – 17% of ZESPRI’s total global export - and the positive Yen/NZD exchange rate,” Mrs Ward said.

Toshiyuki Suda, ZESPRI’s Marketing Manager for Japan, said Japanese customers and consumers are eagerly anticipating the arrival of great tasting, high quality, healthy New Zealand kiwifruit.

“Our key message for Japanese consumers this season is positioning kiwifruit as ‘the fruit that refines your body’, making you healthy and beautiful. We are reinforcing this message through two new television commercials, one for ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit and another for ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, and continued in-store promotion and tastings.”

The first shipment to Japan of about 1450 pallets – approximately 195,000 trays of ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit and 180,000 trays of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit - will arrive in Kobe, Japan on 9 April after being shipped from Gisborne and Tauranga onboard the Asian Lily.

ZESPRI Shipping Manager, Mike Knowles, said the first kiwifruit to leave New Zealand is sharing a boat with a consignment of late-season squash.

“The opportunity to share loads provides cost efficiencies and supports our sustainability goals,” Mr Knowles said.

The first shipments of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit are scheduled to arrive in ZESPRI’s other key markets from mid-April, in plenty of time to capitalise on the early season marketing programmes. The promotions will focus on the health and nutritional benefits of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit, supported by consumer competitions and nutritional campaigns in schools.

One of the tools used to create early season in-market demand is ZESPRI’s inbound tour programme which hosts 500 international guests from February to May each year. It helps enhance customer loyalty by connecting key customers and overseas media with New Zealand’s unique environment and the people who produce and handle ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.

In the past few weeks ZESPRI, the post-harvest sector and kiwifruit growers have hosted a large number of influential international customers and media, with many commenting on the high quality of the fruit on the vines, creating positive market anticipation for early-season fruit.

John Anderson, Chairman, President and CEO of Oppenheimer, ZESPRI’s biggest marketer and distributor in North America, said ZESPRI was a well-respected brand among retailers and many stopped stocking Chilean fruit as soon as ZESPRI® Kiwifruit was available because of its superior quality.

“The New Zealand Kiwifruit industry is in an enviable position. Retailers like ZESPRI because they know they are getting quality.”
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Bay Students Host Hong Kong Athletes | Media Release | 30 March 2010


Beach volleyball and touch rugby met wushu and table tennis earlier this week as students from the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s (BoPP) high performance sport programme played host to four young elite athletes from Hong Kong.

Ho Ching Lee (Table Tennis), Wing Nam Ng (Table Tennis), Wing See Fung (Wushu – martial arts) and Man Yi (Zyvette) Kong (Swimming) are all students at the Hong Kong Sports Institute and were selected to travel to New Zealand after receiving a ZESPRI® Outstanding Junior Athlete Award (OJAA).

ZESPRI, alongside the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and the Hong Kong Sports Press Association (HKSPA), sponsor the ZESPRI Outstanding Junior Athlete Awards (OJAA). The award recognises the achievement of local junior athletes under the age of 19, on a quarterly basis. The athletes were chosen from almost 40 OJAA recipients in 2009.

Kelvin Bezuidenhout, Market Manager of ZESPRI International (Asia) Limited said ZESPRI was delighted to sponsor the Outstanding Junior Athlete Awards.

“ZESPRI has a long history of partnership with local sports teams and personalities, and the health of children and young adults is one of our top priorities. Kiwifruit has been shown to be the most nutritious fruit in the world, and its benefits go hand in hand with exercise as we strive to promote a healthy, active lifestyle across Hong Kong."

After dining with some of the Polytech’s high performance athletes the night before, the Hong Kong athletes spent the morning at the BoPP where Mike Dudson, the Polytech’s High Performance Coach – Beach Volleyball, spoke to them about high performance sport in New Zealand and BoPP’s high performance sports programme, before they were taken on a tour of the campus by the students.

“This is a valuable experience for everyone involved. There is a real bank of elite sports knowledge across a number of disciplines which will serve the athletes from both countries well in their future pursuits,” Mr Dudson said.

Diploma in Sport and Recreation student, Sam O’Dea, whose achievements include winning gold in the men’s volleyball at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January 2009, said he was looking forward to catching up with the Hong Kong athletes later this year when he passes through Hong Kong on his way home from the Volleyball World Under 21 championships in Turkey.

“The opportunity to learn more about their culture ahead of my international travel this year which will take me to Asia has been great.”

Man-yi Kong (Zyvette), who recently placed first in the women’s 50m and 100m breaststroke at the Asian Indoor Games, said she had enjoyed learning about some sports, such as netball and touch rugby, that she hadn’t really come across in Hong Kong.

“It has been a very valuable, eye-opening experience. New Zealanders have a healthy approach to sport; it is an essential part of life for most people here. I hope there will be a swimming competition in the near future that will allow me to come back to New Zealand,” she said.

The Hong Kong athletes arrived in New Zealand on Saturday 27 March and will depart on Thursday 1 April. The athletes will also meet New Zealand Commonwealth record holder for 200m butterfly, Moss Burmester, visit the ZESPRI Head Office, a kiwifruit orchard and packhouse, and enjoy a number of cultural and recreational activities.
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Sun, Sand, Surf and Kiwifruit for Mid-Semester Break | Media Release | 15 April 2010


As many university students are complementing the hard yards over textbooks with the Bay’s summer sun, sand, and surf, Ashley Clements has been undertaking valuable work experience at ZESPRI International Limited.

Ashley, one of the eight recipients of the 2009/10 ZESPRI Horticultural Scholarships, is undertaking tertiary studies at Massey University. The former Bethlehem College student is in her first year of studying a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Agricultural Science and Biochemistry.

During her time at university, Ashley has stayed in regular contact with ZESPRI’s Communications Coordinator, Nicky Geary, updating her on her academic results and university life. With the mid semester break in close sight she mentioned to Nicky that she was interested in work experience in the kiwifruit industry.

“I kept in close contact with Nicky and when I expressed my interest in being involved in the kiwifruit industry over the mid semester break, I was offered the opportunity to undertake work experience at ZESPRI,” she says.

This work experience has found Ashley learning about the different departments of ZESPRI from communications to planning and supply.

“The highlight was working alongside the technical team. I got involved in different on-orchard trials, collected samples from the orchards, then presented and analysed data on a few of the trials. This was incredibly relevant to my tertiary studies.”

As the chills of winter draw closer and the days grow shorter, Ashley will return to university with new knowledge and understanding obtained during her time at ZESPRI.

“It was a real eye opener to the vast opportunities available in the kiwifruit industry, from working alongside growers in the orchards, to developing marketing plans to promote ZESPRI Kiwifruit overseas. I have enjoyed myself and learnt a lot during my time at ZESPRI. This experience has made me more motivated to make a difference in the primary industries of New Zealand, especially the kiwifruit industry,” Ashley says.

Nicky says investing in the education of young people keen to pursue a horticulture career is key to the future success of the kiwifruit industry.

“There is a huge variety of exciting opportunities for focussed young people to contribute to the future of the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry. As New Zealand’s biggest horticultural exporter, supporting people like Ashley will be crucial to the future of the industry,” she says.

The ZESPRI Horticulture Scholarship programme aims to encourage secondary school leavers to pursue a tertiary qualification and career in horticulture. Each year, ZESPRI offers scholarships, valued at $3000 each, to high calibre secondary school students who intend to study full-time for a degree or diploma in horticulture-related field at a New Zealand University or Polytechnic. Applications for the scholarship open on 1 September 2010.
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Valerie Vili 2010 Youthbank Ambassador | Media Release | 14 May 2010


At just 15 years of age, current women’s world shot-put champion, Valerie Vili, began a journey requiring commitment, leadership and self development - all attributes Bay of Plenty students will require as they work through the 2010 ZESPRI YouthBank programme.

ZESPRI® YouthBank is a programme involving 12 colleges throughout the Bay of Plenty. Each school establishes a committee of students to consider applications from Not-for-Profit Organisations for promotion and financial assistance.

Each committee has a total of $2000 to allocate with only a few criterion from ZESPRI and New Zeal. The recipient organisation must be a registered charitable entity and the maximum $500 grant must be to support a youth related project. Ultimately, at least four Not-for-Profit Organisations will benefit through each school.

Valerie, who is also an ambassador for Hospice South Auckland, is passionate about the work Not-for-Profit Organisations do in their communities. It is this passion that makes Valerie, who was born in the Bay of Plenty, the perfect choice as ambassador for the young people involved this year.

“This opportunity for young people in the Bay of Plenty to get involved in the important work that is happening in their own back yard really spoke to me. As our communities struggle in these economic times, this help is more important than ever to ensure youth programmes keep happening,” Valerie said.

The students will hear from Valerie at an end of programme awards evening planned for September, where Valerie will share her motivations, challenges and secrets to success.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward said: “ZESPRI is very proud to support this programme. We know how much commitment the students show throughout the year and ZESPRI is thrilled to bring a world class athlete like Valerie to meet and inspire the students.”

Over the past eight years, the ZESPRI® YouthBank programme has seen assistance given to more than 420 youth-focused, Not-for-Profit Organisations, while hundreds of students have learnt valuable skills for their futures.

“The students work as a team, promoting, marketing and developing selection frameworks. Most importantly, they see what it means to make a difference in their own community,” explains New Zeal coordinator Graham Hare.

“Myself and the teachers involved are always amazed and delighted with the enthusiasm and commitment with which the students embrace the challenge of supporting others and making a difference in their communities. We see real leadership emerge as they take ownership of the opportunity, which we believe, comes at an age where opportunities like this can really shape and mould who they become in future.”

Over the next few weeks each school will be asking various Not-for-Profit Organisations to approach them detailing how they could benefit from the grant. A list of participating schools  are available below.

Schools participating in ZESPRI YouthBank 2010:
  • Mount Maunganui College
  • Edgecumbe College
  • Opotiki College
  • Tauranga Girls College
  • Whakatane High School
  • Bethlehem College
  • Otumoetai College
  • Katikati College
  • Tauranga Boys College
  • Aquinas College
  • Te Puke High School
  • Trident High School

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Organic Growth Very Healthy for ZESPRI Portfolio | Media Release | 20 May 2010


As New Zealand’s largest organic exporter, ZESPRI welcomes the release of New Zealand Organic Sector Report 2010, launched by the Minister of Trade, Hon. Tim Groser, in Wellington tonight.

The research, which profiles the growth of the organic sector over the past three years, highlights significant growth in New Zealand’s organic exports, from an estimated worth of NZD $120-130 million in 2007, to NZD $170-180 million in the latest report.

New Zealand organic kiwifruit exports have increased by 25 percent since 2007. Kiwifruit currently accounts for 48 percent of New Zealand’s total organic horticultural exports and 22 percent of total organic exports.

The ZESPRI® organic portfolio earned NZD $53 million in revenues in 2009. This is projected to grow to over NZD $62 million by 2011, an increase of 17 percent. Incremental growth opportunities remain in established organic markets including Europe, North America and Japan, while stronger growth potential exists in ZESPRI’s developing markets of China and South East Asia.

ZESPRI Board Member, Peter McBride, who attended the launch, said organics is a premium niche within the ZESPRI portfolio, with ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit representing 4.8 percent of the total ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit business by revenue and 4.4 percent by volume.

“ZESPRI’s organic business is characterised by passionate growers and industry players who have an active role alongside ZESPRI in shaping the future of their category. Organic production plays a significant role in developing and piloting new sustainable growing techniques for the wider business,” he said.

ZESPRI partners with 160 organic kiwifruit growers, across 213 orchards growing 547 hectares of ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC and 75 hectares of ZESPRI® GOLD ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

ZESPRI is represented on Organics Aoteoroa NZ (OANZ) through its membership of the Organic Product Exporters of New Zealand (OPENZ). The Certified Organic Kiwifruit growers Association (COKA) is also a direct member of OANZ.
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Top Recognition for Bay Lawyer | Media Release | 20 May 2010


ZESPRI General Counsel, Katherine Evans, was awarded the Corporate Lawyer Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)-LexisNexis Corporate Lawyer of the Year at the 2010 CLANZ Conference held in Rotorua on Friday.

The award recognises an in-house lawyer who has made a valuable contribution to the organisational goals and has contributed to New Zealand’s in-house legal profession.

Ms Evans said that while receiving the award was very exciting for her personally, it also highlighted the significance of the contributions ZESPRI makes to both the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand.

“I am very fortunate to be in a role which provides me with the opportunity to consider a variety of legal issues both in New Zealand and offshore, and even more importantly, the chance to work with, and learn from, a network of extremely experienced and knowledgeable directors, executive team and external legal advisors.

“The culture of ZESPRI and the New Zealand kiwifruit industry is one of unwavering commitment to success and a drive for continual improvement, which is truly inspiring – it’s great to be a part of that,” she said.

Ms Evans was selected from a strong pool of nominations, including individuals from the State Services Commission, Auckland International Airport, Ministry of Fisheries and PGG Wrightson.

As General Counsel, Ms Evans advises ZESPRI on a wide range of legal matters across the business, including commercial contracting, regulatory compliance, insurance issues, litigation, and employment issues. She also works closely with more than a dozen law firms in numerous countries.

Ms Evans is also responsible for all legal aspects of the global development, protection and enforcement of ZESPRI’s intellectual property portfolio, including trademarks, designs and plant variety rights for ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit and ZESPRI’s other new kiwifruit varieties nearing commercial release.

In the past year, Ms Evans has had a strong focus on legal issues associated with ZESPRI’s consideration of the potential commercial release of new kiwifruit varieties developed through its research partnership with Plant & Food Research.

ZESPRI Chief Executive Officer, Lain Jager, was thrilled to see Ms Evans recognised for the tremendous contribution she has made to ZESPRI.

“In addition to providing sound legal advice to the ZESPRI Executive Team and Board of Directors, Katherine makes a significant strategic contribution to ZESPRI’s business activities. It is fantastic to see Katherine’s impressive skill set, hard work and commitment acknowledged by her peers in the legal community,” he said.

As the winner, Ms Evans receives a scholarship package from LexisNexis to the value of $5,000 to be spent on development activities for herself and/or her team.
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2010/11 Forecast Grower Returns | Media Release | 21 May 2010


ZESPRI has announced an indicative range of grower returns for the 2010/11 season, following a steady performance for the 2009/10 year.

The indicative range of returns, released by New Zealand’s largest horticultural exporter this week, show that returns for ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit are expected to increase slightly on last year, and that ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit returns are likely to hold steady with the 2009 result. ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit is expected to have another challenging year, reflecting an increase in supply and mix impacts for this category.

The ZESPRI Board also expects to pay a per-tray loyalty payment of 25 cents for the 2010/11 season, compared to 15 cents per tray in 2009/10 and 16.5 cents per tray for the 2008/09 season.

ZESPRI Chief Executive, Lain Jager, said this is a very early indication of returns and ZESPRI won’t release the full forecast until August. However, early season sales have given ZESPRI confidence that the markets will respond positively to the excellent eating quality of the fruit this year.

“What we’ve seen is lower crop loadings resulting from poor fruit set not translating into the large profile we would normally expect to see, because of very dry weather across much of the country. This has translated into very high dry matters and excellent sugar levels in the 2010 crop. Together with strong early season delivery, we are well positioned for the season and expecting a modest recovery in local market returns, following a very challenging season last year,” Lain said.

"We have clear plans in place for each category and these are set out in our three-year category outlook documents – to be published again in November. For now the focus is on working closely with our customers to achieve the best result possible for growers with the excellent fruit quality we have been blessed with this season,” he said.

ZESPRI delivers stable results for 2009

ZESPRI also announced its financial results for the year ending 31 March 2010 this week, which represent satisfactory grower returns in a year characterised by the financial crisis and devastating returns for many fruit growers around the world.

ZESPRI’s net global kiwifruit sales increased three percent from $1.451 billion in 2008/09 to $1.501 billion in 2009/10. New Zealand-sourced kiwifruit volumes sold decreased by one percent to 98.5 million trays, predominately because of crop management and hail damage.

Average Fruit and Service Payments increased by seven percent on last year, to $833.9 million, and by eight percent on a per-tray basis, to $8.17 across all categories.

Despite managing the season well pricing was under pressure, particularly for ZESPRI® GREEN and ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit. However, this was counterbalanced by more favourable freight costs and positive exchange rate movements which contributed $37.5 million and $76.5 million to the final return respectively.

ZESPRI reported a consolidated net profit after tax of $25.9 million for the year ending 31 March 2010, compared with $23.9 million in the year prior.

ZESPRI Board Chairman, John Loughlin, said: “Achieving a modest increase in returns in what was a very challenging market environment, reflects the tremendous performance by ZESPRI, our growers, post-harvest operators and our distribution and retail partners in the markets.”

The Board has announced its intention to declare a final dividend of 35 cents per fully paid share for payment in August 2010, in addition to the interim dividend of 35 cents per share paid in December 2009. This brings the total dividend for the 2009/10 year to 70 cents per share, representing 78 percent of distributable profits.



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ZESPRI Congratulates Government on Russia Trade Negotiations | Media Release | 1 June 2010


ZESPRI congratulates the government as they move toward a free trade agreement with Russia.

The announcement of negotiations, made yesterday by the Minister of Trade, Tim Groser, follows trade negotiations with a number of regions and is part of the continued focus on global trade agreements.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said Russia was an emerging market for ZESPRI, where we see a lot of potential for future growth.

“We are already seeing increased sales and profit as a result of free trade agreements with China and Southeast Asia. As Russia’s economy strengthens we look forward to increasing the demand for ZESPRI® Kiwifruit within this dynamic market,” she said.
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Nothing New in T&G “Announcement” | Media Release | 14 June 2010


The world’s most successful horticulture marketer, ZESPRI Group Ltd, says there is nothing new in a reported “announcement” by struggling apple exporter Turners & Growers Ltd (T&G) that it plans to try to sell a new kiwifruit variety.

It says T&G, a one percent player in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry and currently majority-owned by corporate raider Guinness Peat Group (GPG), does so at its own commercial risk and, of even more concern, at the risk of any participating growers.

ZESPRI’s Director Corporate and Grower Services Carol Ward said the T&G/GPG “announcement” contained no new information and appeared to be nothing more than the latest step in T&G Chairman Tony Gibbs’ political campaign to break up the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

She said it had clearly been timed ahead of major commercial developments to be announced by ZESPRI later this week.

“It is well known throughout the industry that this week the ZESPRI Board will be making commercialisation decisions about whether new varieties of kiwifruit should start to be grown this winter for commercial production, and about our growth plans through this decade and beyond,” Ms Ward said.

“The decision on new varieties will be an important step in a scientific process which so far has seen more than 50,000 potential new varieties assessed and given due consideration. This programme provides a strong pipeline of potential new varieties for the future.

“These were developed by ZESPRI in partnership with the New Zealand Government through Plant & Food Research.

“Over the last 10 years we have conducted extensive orchard, storage, distribution and taste tests which will inform that decision. There has also been consultation with major customers and retail outlets, particularly in Japan, along with careful consideration of how best to build our ZESPRI Brand portfolio.

“It is vital the industry chooses carefully. The last thing the New Zealand kiwifruit industry needs is a proliferation of substandard cultivars which would simply confuse consumers and drive down prices and export returns.

“Any grower considering grafting to new varieties must be fully informed as to the commercial viability of the variety and the likely returns.”

Ms Ward said those who had new varieties of kiwifruit they wanted to consider planting for export beyond Australia should first talk to industry-regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ), grower representative organisation New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) and ZESPRI.

“The New Zealand Kiwifruit Export Regulations provide for anyone to be able to export kiwifruit from New Zealand, under collaborative marketing procedures, as long as they can show their proposal is in the best interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers,” she said.

“Collaborative marketing programmes allow companies to export kiwifruit from New Zealand – all in a way which benefits them and the wider industry – and we expect this aspect of the industry to continue to grow in the years ahead. More than 16 companies are already exporting from New Zealand under collaborative marketing programmes. If it has serious commercial propositions, we would welcome such a programme by T&G.”

Ms Ward said the latest T&G/GPG campaign to break up the industry was failing.

“According to Colmar Brunton, more than 90 percent of growers support ZESPRI and the industry’s marketing arrangements, and there has been equally strong support for the growers’ view from across parliament, including Agriculture Minister David Carter, Trade Minister Tim Groser and Opposition Leader Phil Goff.”
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ZESPRI Launches Three New Kiwifruit Varieties | Media Release | 17 June 2010


The world’s most successful horticulture marketer, ZESPRI Group Ltd, has announced today the next steps in the ongoing development of the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry with the commercialisation this winter of three new types of kiwifruit and the start of on-orchard trials for a further two new varieties.

A total of 600 hectares of the three new commercial varieties will be licensed to be planted or grafted this season, about five percent of all the New Zealand land currently planted in kiwifruit. Growers will receive detailed information on the new varieties on Monday.

The decision to proceed, made by ZESPRI on Wednesday, follows a 10-year development programme by ZESPRI, in association with the New Zealand Government through Plant & Food Research, four years of on-orchard, storage, shipping and taste tests in New Zealand, Europe and Japan, and extensive work with growers and international customers.

The three new varieties for planting or grafting this winter are an early-season GOLD (Gold3); a potentially long-storing GOLD (Gold9); and a new sweet GREEN (Green14). The two new varieties for on-orchard grower trials are both RED Kiwifruits and are now on the shortlist for future commercialisation.

ZESPRI Chief Executive Lain Jager said the decisions were vitally-important steps in the ongoing development of ZESPRI and the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry, and part of its medium- and long-term strategy to progressively and sustainably grow the New Zealand Kiwifruit offering while taking care not to cannibalise existing sales and prices.

“This has been the most thorough and rigorous product development process ever undertaken by the New Zealand horticulture sector, and, as a joint industry/government initiative, it is New Zealand Inc at its best,” Mr Jager said.

He said that more than 50,000 potential new varieties had been part of the programme, more than 10,000 had made the initial shortlist, 40 went to initial growing trials, four made it to on-orchard trials and underwent on-orchard, storage, shipping and taste tests, and three have reached the stage of commercialisation. For the RED varieties, nearly 2,000 different options had been considered, with more than 10 making it to initial growing trials, and two to on-orchard grower trials.

Two hundred hectares of each new variety would be licensed this winter. This would be progressively increased based on on-orchard, storage, shipping and consumer performance. First significant sales volumes are expected in 2013.

Mr Jager said the new varieties provide exciting new opportunities for growers interested in either GREEN, GOLD or both.

“In GOLD, ZESPRI has the world’s best performing horticulture product,” he said. “GOLD orchards are highly productive, yielding approximately 22 percent more fruit per hectare than GREEN Kiwifruits, and GOLD product then achieves premiums of more than 100 percent over other varieties – something which, to ZESPRI’s knowledge, no other horticulture marketer has ever managed to achieve.

“We have therefore made the strategic decision that the next best step we can make in our business is to strongly grow the GOLD product line, and take a major step towards year-round supply, primarily from New Zealand.

“We can do this highly efficiently, without the cost of launching an entirely new brand into the marketplace and it avoids the risk of confusing consumers with too many similar offerings, as other horticultural businesses have sometimes done. Our taste tests indicate that the two new GOLD varieties are seen as near-identical to the existing ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit so that they can be marketed within that brand portfolio.”

Mr Jager said that consumers in Europe, Japan and elsewhere in Asia want ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit all year round, driving ZESPRI’s 12-month supply strategy.

“Right now, New Zealand can meet demand for ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit for 20 weeks of the year, with the rest being met from offshore supply,” he said. “Today’s decisions are about taking that towards 30 weeks, delivering a potential 50 percent efficiency gain in our marketing and distribution network from New Zealand, with the balance of demand to be met by ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit growers in the Northern Hemisphere as that business develops in the future.”

Mr Jager said the early-season GOLD was expected to be exported in March, arriving in markets up to three weeks ahead of existing GOLD, with the other new GOLD variety delivering exports hopefully all the way through to Spring.

On-orchard research had indicated both were likely to be as productive as the existing ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit variety, and cost no more to grow.

Mr Jager said the commercialisation of the new sweet GREEN Kiwifruit provides growers with an attractive option for a new market segment.

“The sweet GREEN will be exported into premium markets and decisions about how it will be branded will be made next year. Our market managers see strong potential for sales at the start of the season and – being a new sweet variety – it also has the potential to attract new consumers to kiwifruit.”

The speed of growth from the additional 200 hectares will be determined by a wide range of factors, including yield per hectare. Current indications are that the new GREEN variety is comparable in terms of cost of production and yields as existing GREEN Kiwifruit.

Mr Jager said today’s announcements were just the start of a programme to progressively and sustainably expand ZESPRI’s product range over the next decade and beyond and to triple export earnings by 2025. All new varieties including these five being progressed today have been developed using natural breeding techniques.

He said there was particular media interest in RED varieties and he expected results from the two on-orchard trials to be available in the next 2-3 years.

“It is absolutely essential we get all these decisions right – especially the inevitable decision to launch an entirely new ZESPRI® RED brand globally. There are literally tens of thousands of kiwifruit varieties that we or others could potentially try to sell, but uncoordinated new product launches only risk driving down prices and overall returns to New Zealand. Only a handful of the tens of thousands of types of kiwifruit that are possible will meet ZESPRI’s tests and standards, from on-orchard performance through to consumer preference.

“As with any new venture, our growers will think carefully about the commercial risks and opportunities presented by these new varieties, before they make a decision for their orcharding business, and we will be providing extensive information as part of that process.”

Mr Jager said there were also opportunities for those interested in growing and exporting other kiwifruit varieties to work with industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ) and ZESPRI to sell these beyond New Zealand and Australia under the industry’s collaborative marketing arrangements. More than 16 companies are already exporting from New Zealand under these arrangements and further growth in this area is expected.
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ZESPRI Presents Kiwifruit Industry Plan to NZ Prime Minister | Media Release | 17 June 2010


The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Hon. John Key, visited ZESPRI’s head office in Mount Maunganui today to officially receive the ZESPRI 2025 document: ZESPRI’s commitment to triple the size of the business within 15 years. He was accompanied by Bay of Plenty MP and Health Minister Hon. Tony Ryall, and Tauranga MP Mr Simon Bridges.

ZESPRI, the world’s most successful horticultural marketer and New Zealand’s largest horticultural exporter, aspires to triple export earnings to NZ$3 billion by 2025, primarily through productivity gains rather than by increasing resource use.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager said: “The commitment to significantly grow the kiwifruit industry and export earnings, plays right to the heart of achieving New Zealand’s productivity targets and Horticulture NZ’s goal of creating a horticulture industry that is valued at NZ$10 billion by 2020.

“Industry developments such as the commercialisation of new kiwifruit varieties, a focus on value-added marketing and a unified collaborative industry structure coupled with innovative and sustainable orchard practices will be the key to our success.”

Mr Jager also said he was delighted with the Prime Minister’s comments, when speaking to ZESPRI staff and local media, that the Government would maintain the industry’s Single Point of Entry (SPE) system for as long as growers support it.

ZESPRI already has a significant track record of achieving growth, building the value of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit export earnings to NZ$1.07 billion in under 10 years. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8 percent, ZESPRI outperforms other industries such as dairy produce, meat, forest products, apples and wool.

A copy of ZESPRI 2025 can be downloaded here.
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ZESPRI Proud to Recognise Service to Export | Media Release | 26 June 2010


As New Zealand’s largest horticultural exporter, with export earnings of $1.07 billion, ZESPRI was thrilled to present Graeme Boyd, Managing Director of Boyd Insight Limited, with the ZESPRI Service to Export Award at the Bay of Plenty Export Awards held in Tauranga last night.

The award, which is in its second year, recognises someone who has made a significant contribution to exporting in the Bay of Plenty.

Graeme was the General Manager Operations for Bay of Plenty-based global mower design and manufacturing company Trimax Mowing Systems before starting his own management consulting company – Boyd Insights. He is a member of the Priority One Executive Board, and was previously the Chief Executive Officer of rapidly-growing specialised honey exporter, Comvita.

Judges comments highlighted Graeme’s involvement in, and commitment to, the Bay of Plenty export community and his proven track record of working with export companies and growing them to another level with his sound thinking and clear minded approach to putting in strong management foundations and systems.

ZESPRI’s General Manager Supply Chain, Sally Gardiner, who was one of the judges for the award, said it was a privilege for ZESPRI to sponsor such a prestigious award being presented to such a deserving recipient.

“Graham’s talent and passion for business growth has made a valuable impact within the Bay of Plenty Export community,” she said.
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ZESPRI Congratulates Government on Korea Trade Negotiations | Media Release | 6 July 2010


ZESPRI congratulates Prime Minister John Key and the New Zealand Government on progressing free trade negotiations with Korea during meetings with the Korean Prime Minister, Chung Un-chan, and President Lee Myung-Bak, in Seoul yesterday.

Korea is New Zealand’s seventh-largest trading partner and one of ZESPRI’s “Big 6” markets. A free trade agreement could be worth almost NZD $34 million to New Zealand Kiwifruit growers - approximately NZD12,000 per grower. Last year ZESPRI exported almost 6.5 million trays of ZESPRI Kiwifruit to Korea, worth approximately NZD112 million to the industry.

ZESPRI Board Chairman, John Loughlin, who is travelling with the Prime Minister’s delegation in Korea, said Korea’s current tariff on New Zealand Kiwifruit is the highest in the world at 45 percent.

“The challenge we have in Korea is that our main competitor, Chile, already has a free trade agreement. ZESPRI pays a 45 percent tariff. Chile pays a 16.5 percent tariff, which declines at four per cent a year until it reaches zero in 2014.

“ZESPRI has a superior quality product, and superior marketing and service support. A free trade agreement with Korea will allow us to compete on a level playing field, and win the market based on our premium quality fruit,” Mr Loughlin said.

A recent economic outlook released by the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance predicts the Korean economy will grow by 5.8 percent in 2010 and approximately 5.0 percent in 2011, presenting exciting growth opportunities for New Zealand businesses.

“Korea is a very important market for ZESPRI where we have experienced very strong growth. In the last five years ZESPRI has spent more than NZD30 million on successful advertising and promotion activities in Korea.

“ZESPRI also partners with local kiwifruit growers on the island of Jeju to produce ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, under licence, for the Korean market during the New Zealand off season,” Mr Loughlin said.

Mr Loughlin also attended the Korea NZ Business Roundtable today, alongside other influential business leaders from Korea and New Zealand. The Roundtable aims to motivate business leaders in both countries to become advocates of a closer economic relationship between New Zealand and Korea. He will also travel with the Prime Minister to Shanghai later this week to celebrate New Zealand Day at the Shanghai Expo, where ZESPRI is a foundation partner of the New Zealand Pavilion.
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Strong Interest in ZESPRI’s New Varieties | Media Release | 14 July 2010


Following ZESPRI’s release of detailed information on three newly-commercialised varieties last month, growers have responded with an extremely strong indication of interest for 2010 licences.

The closing date for bids was Wednesday 30 June and the Evaluation Panel (which includes four ZESPRI representatives, one independent Director from the ZESPRI Board, one independent legal advisor appointed by the Industry Advisory Council, and one representative from legal firm Cooney Lees Morgan) has completed its assessment of the applications which were collated and validated by Cooney Lees Morgan.

The two gold varieties (Gold3 and Gold9) were both oversubscribed and the new sweet green (Green14) is currently undersubscribed. All valid bids at the maximum price for new varieties will receive licences this year, following the Evaluation Panel’s decision to pro-rate the oversubscribed Gold3 and Gold9 varieties, and issue an additional 50ha of Gold9 licences.

ZESPRI Chief Executive Lain Jager said that market demand for Gold9 supports the increase.

“Our market demand forecast supports the release of 200ha of each variety, and in some cases it was stronger,” said Mr Jager.

“The Evaluation Panel advised ZESPRI of the oversubscription for Gold9, and we decided to increase available hectares to 250ha. We believe this is manageable from a market perspective, and enables all interested growers to participate in this year’s commercial release.”

Mr Jager said that ZESPRI expects there will be substantial opportunities for growers to participate in new variety opportunities with ZESPRI in the next few years.

“This initial commercial release of three new cultivars is conservative and reflects the need to manage risk effectively as the industry learns more about the varieties over successive seasons. ZESPRI will progressively release licences over the coming years to match demand as the varieties perform in the market, through the supply chain and on the orchard.”

Overview of Allocations
  • Gold3 (200ha available) – 244 bids were received for 509 hectares. Each valid bidder who bid at the maximum price for 100 percent of their KPIN and it was below 0.5ha will receive their requested hectares. For all valid bidders who bid at the maximum price for 0.5ha or more, these bids have been pro-rated down to 0.5ha or slightly more, depending on the total hectares bid for.
  • Gold9 (250ha available) – 481 bids were received for 970 hectares. ZESPRI has increased the available hectares from 200 to 250. Each valid bidder who bid at the maximum price for 100 percent of their KPIN and it was below 0.5ha will receive their requested hectares. For all valid bidders who bid at the maximum price for 0.5ha or more, these bids have been pro-rated down to 0.5ha. No bidder will receive more than 0.5ha of Gold9.
  • Green14 (200ha available) – 72 bids were received for 104 hectares. Each valid bidder will   receive the full area they bid for – and all Green14 bidders who requested ZESPRI to contact them if the variety was undersubscribed are being contacted to see if they are interested in additional hectares.

Growers are receiving their legal documentation this week and once bidders have signed and paid, they can collect their budwood and start planting or grafting.
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Court Hearing a Waste of Grower Money | Media Release | 16 July 2010


The world’s most successful horticulture marketing company, ZESPRI Group Ltd, says that the legal case it will be defending on behalf of its growers next week is a wasteful use of grower money.

The case is part of a campaign by Turners & Growers (T&G), a 1 percent player in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry and majority owned by corporate raider Guinness Peat Group (GPG), to break up the kiwifruit industry, New Zealand’s fastest-growing major primary producer.

ZESPRI’s Director Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said ZESPRI had made efforts to ensure the litigation, which was filed a year ago and concerns points of law dating back to government decisions more than a decade ago, did not distract from its focus on customers and grower returns.

She said that, since the launch of the litigation, average grower returns had increased by 7 percent, returns for ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit had increased by 23 percent, the company and government had partnered to commit funding to ZESPRI’s world-leading kiwifruit breeding programme with Plant & Food Research, and that three new varieties of kiwifruit had been commercialised.

“In addition, a survey by Colmar Brunton said that more than 90 percent of growers support ZESPRI and the industry’s marketing arrangements, and there has been equally strong support for the growers’ view from across parliament, including from Prime Minister John Key, Agriculture Minister David Carter, Trade Minister Tim Groser and Opposition Leader Phil Goff,” she said.

Ms Ward said that, instead of concentrating on wasteful and pointless litigation, it would be better for T&G/GPG to work constructively with ZESPRI to advance in its commercial aspirations.

She said that the New Zealand Kiwifruit Export Regulations provide for anyone to export kiwifruit from New Zealand, under collaborative marketing procedures, as long as they can show their proposal is in the best interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers.

“Collaborative marketing programmes allow companies to export kiwifruit from New Zealand – all in a way which benefits them and the wider industry. More than 15 companies, including T&G, are already exporting from New Zealand under collaborative marketing programmes and we expect these programmes will continue to grow in the years ahead.

“If it has serious commercial propositions that might benefit the industry, we would welcome such a programme by T&G,” Ms Ward said.
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New Research Links Vitamin C to Cancer Prevention and Treatment | Media Release | 19 July 2010


News reports across New Zealand this evening announce significant research findings from scientists at the University of Otago School of Medicine that have just been published in the Cancer Research Journal.

http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago009857.html

The research links Vitamin C to both cancer prevention and the successful treatment of cancer; slowing the growth of tumour cells and making them more responsive to chemotherapy.

Vitamin C is an essential requirement for living tissues and plays an essential role in the maintenance of good health and the body’s immune response.

ZESPRI® Kiwifruit are an exceptional source of Vitamin C - one kiwifruit can provide the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Weight for weight ZESPRI® Kiwifruit provide almost twice the Vitamin C of oranges.

This research and other studies that are underway support the recommendation that ZESPRI® Kiwifruit, consumed daily as part of a healthy diet, help to boost the body’s vitamin levels, protecting the body from multiple adverse cellular events, and help strengthen the body’s natural defences.

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ZESPRI Welcomes High Court Judgment | Media Release | 13 August 2010


ZESPRI has welcomed today’s High Court judgment which struck out all three claims raised by Turners & Growers (T&G) and has reconfirmed its invitation to T&G to discuss how T&G’s commercial aspirations can be achieved under the collaborative marketing provisions of the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999.

ZESPRI was commenting after today’s High Court judgment in favour of its view, and that of the Attorney-General on behalf of the New Zealand Government, that the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999 were validly established 11 years ago and that Kiwifruit New Zealand, the industry regulator, has exclusive jurisdiction to consider complaints under those Regulations.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager said: “The Court today rejecting T&G’s claims represents a natural juncture in its political campaign to break up the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry and it would be highly desirable if T&G now decided not to subject kiwifruit growers, ZESPRI and its own shareholders to the further expense of prolonged litigation through an appeal.

“We have always believed that the collaborative marketing provisions provide the best and least-cost path forward for T&G and others to develop export opportunities that will benefit New Zealand Kiwifruit growers and their own shareholders. Already 17 companies are exporting kiwifruit from New Zealand through collaborative marketing and we expect these programmes will continue to grow in the future.

“The New Zealand Government, the New Zealand Opposition, 90 percent of kiwifruit growers and now the High Court of New Zealand have each confirmed their support for the existing arrangements. Now is the time for common sense to prevail and for T&G to put forward sensible and robust collaborative marketing proposals capable of being accepted by the industry regulator.

“That is in the best interests not just of New Zealand and New Zealand Kiwifruit growers but also T&G and its shareholders.”

 

 

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Solid Returns Expected for New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers | Media Release | 18 August 2010


ZESPRI is forecasting increased per-tray returns across all categories for New Zealand Kiwifruit growers, on the back of an excellent in-market response to this season’s ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.

Patchy pollination in some areas and a very dry 2010 New Zealand summer resulted in lower-than-anticipated yields of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit and a larger quantity of smaller fruit earlier in the season. But, says ZESPRI Chief Executive Officer, Lain Jager, there was some upside to the dry summer conditions.

“The dry, warm growing conditions have provided us with a great tasting crop and this is translating into strong market demand, particularly in more taste sensitive markets,” said Mr Jager.



At this relatively early stage in the season it appears that strong sales and lower than usual fruit loss will offset a 34 percent increase in bunker fuel rates, leading to projected fruit and service payments across all pools of $856.2 million – a $22.3 million increase on last season.

Mr Jager noted the modest improvement in GREEN returns would be heartening for GREEN growers who have been under significant financial pressure in recent years following strong volume growth, deteriorating market mix and rising costs depressing returns for the category.

“We are providing a very high quality product to the market and this improvement in returns is important to sustain the category going forward. While the average per-tray return in all pools has increased, it’s important to note that in a high taste year, some growers with smaller fruit and lower dry matter levels, or with lower yields, may actually have reduced returns per hectare,” Mr Jager said.

In reflecting on market conditions Mr Jager noted some markets were recovering from recessionary impacts more quickly than others but, in general, demand was stable or growing across ZESPRI’s markets in all categories.

“It’s important to recognise that good business in the fruit industry is about reliable quality and long-term relationships with distributors and retail customers. Our focus is really on delivering that reliable quality, supporting our programmes with effective promotion, and extending our range which is good for all of our partners because it delivers a stable and growing business for the future.”

Mr Jager said that the last GOLD Kiwifruit were shipped to Japan in early August, with the final GREEN and GREEN ORGANIC Kiwifruit to be shipped to Europe and Asia by the end of November.

Growers have been invited to attend meetings around the country, beginning next week, to discuss the latest forecast.

Interim ZESPRI® Taste payment to be paid in September

ZESPRI is paying the Taste payment earlier – by bringing forward half of the 15 November ZESPRI® Taste payment (approximately $34.9 million or $0.35 per TE) to 15 September.

The Taste ZESPRI® Programme ensures customers consistently receive delicious kiwifruit by providing payment incentives to growers who produce great-tasting kiwifruit. ZESPRI works with growers to provide orchard management tools and research that can help improve dry matter levels in kiwifruit - a key indicator of great taste.

The early Taste ZESPRI® payment reflects both the increased level of receipts from the market and also the speed of the sales of the crop. As at the end of July, global sales volumes were up on last year by 3.1 percent, and revenue by over 8 percent. ZESPRI supports the principle of rapid payment to growers for fruit supplied, as determined by receipts and sales rates.
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ZESPRI AGM Focuses on Strong Growth Plans | Media Release | 18 August 2010


Grower shareholders turned out in force to ZESPRI’s Annual General Meeting held in Tauranga today, to listen to ZESPRI Chairman, John Loughlin, and Chief Executive, Lain Jager, present the first forecast for the 2010/11 season, discuss the company’s financial performance for the 2009/10 season and hear about ZESPRI’s strategy for growth.

ZESPRI Chairman, John Loughlin, highlighted the significance of ZESPRI’s stable financial results in the context of market challenges from the global recession and climatic impacts on the crop.

“Both the 2009 and 2010 selling seasons have been characterised by tough market conditions in Japan, Europe and North America,” said Mr Loughlin. “Despite this, and some adverse weather which impacted crop volumes, sales of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit have remained strong overall.”

Earlier this year, ZESPRI made a commitment to triple its export earnings to $3 billion by 2025. “It is quite extraordinary to think that – thanks to our track record of research and development, innovation, marketing excellence and productivity improvements – we can realistically plan to become a $3 billion plus industry but still be using less of this country’s land resources than when we were far smaller – almost a fringe industry – back in the 1980s.

“It is this sort of productivity, together with products with broader consumer appeal, that will put money in the pockets of tomorrow’s growers,” said Mr Loughlin.

Mr Jager reinforced that new variety development is about bringing new products to market, which will attract new consumers to the category and earn new shelf space.

“Very simply, we are not going to commercialise every good cultivar. Rather, it’s about what will earn shelf space and genuinely add value to the category. That’s what will ultimately benefit grower,” said Mr Jager.

Mr Jager also acknowledged to shareholders that the company was currently investing heavily in future growth.

“This is about ZESPRI investing in the future growth of the industry and increasing the GREEN return and, as such, I’m confident that we’re doing the right thing.

“With our track record, we have earned the right to grow. The future is bright and I know we have the vision and determination to make the most of it,” Mr Jager said.

Other outcomes of the meeting included:
  • ZESPRI received overwhelming support (97.18%) to continue its 12-month supply strategy and its investment in new kiwifruit varieties, on the back of this year’s decision to commercialise three promising new kiwifruit varieties and to progress red varieties through to grower trials.
  • Chairman John Loughlin and Deputy Chairman Peter McBride were both re-elected uncontested and grower shareholders voted Bruce Cameron into the vacant grower director spot. Mr Cameron has been an active kiwifruit grower since 1978 and told shareholders he has an absolute belief in the single desk marketing model.
  • Shareholders John Bourke, Ian Elliot and John Griffin were appointed to the new Director Remuneration Committee to join fourth member, Sir Henry van der Heyden. As Chairman of Fonterra, Sir Henry has contributed to the dairy industry governance for the past 16 years and was approached by the ZESPRI Board because he understands the various aspirations of primary producers and the governance needs of an international business.
  • Shareholders supported a resolution put forward by shareholder Mr Alan Sutherland which called on ZESPRI to work with growers to simplify the payments system and make cash flow timing to growers as equitable as possible. Prior to shareholders voting at the meeting, Mr Loughlin confirmed ZESPRI’s support for the resolution with the proviso that any moves to improve the payments system must not “water down commercial drivers which give growers strong signals about the sources of ongoing value from the marketplace”.
  • Grower shareholders voted in strong support (88.4%) of a resolution to conduct a 5:1 share split next month, which will help shareholders better understand the alignment between their shares and their production.

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ZESPRI Supports Shippers’ Council Call To Prepare For Bigger Ships | Media Release | 25 August 2010


ZESPRI has welcomed the release earlier today of the New Zealand Shippers’ Council Inc Report calling on New Zealand to accommodate bigger ships.

ZESPRI Shipping Manager Mike Knowles says: “Upgrading New Zealand shipping ports to accommodate bigger ships will be the deciding factor in international supply chain efficiencies for New Zealand export industries.”

The report entitled ‘The Question of Bigger Ships: Securing New Zealand’s International Supply Chain’ reviews and recommends key infrastructure initiatives that will provide New Zealand with a competitive advantage and supply chain efficiencies.

“For a country whose wealth is based on the success of our export industries, New Zealand must remain internationally competitive,” said Mr Knowles. “The strategic development of a North and South Island port to accommodate bigger container ships is imperative to long-term export growth and success.

“We cannot afford to turn these ships away from our ports and risk having our shipping services become increasingly ‘boutique’ in nature using older and smaller ships to get our products to key global markets,” added Mr Knowles.

“The introduction of bigger ships to our existing supply chain arrangements, offers us a viable and cost efficient method of meeting the growing demand for our products into Asia and other markets,” says Mr Knowles. “Not only would we be able to ship more ZESPRI® Kiwifruit at one time, but we would be able to reduce carbon emissions and further reduce our carbon footprint.”

ZESPRI acknowledges the New Zealand Shippers’ Council for raising the question of New Zealand’s capacity and capability to tap into the trading routes for bigger ships.

“We look forward to working with the New Zealand Shippers’ Council and other member organisations to secure a strong future for all New Zealand importers and exporters,” said Mr Knowles.
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Women with Low Iron Stores Benefit from ZESPRI® GOLD | Media Release | 4 October 2010


Research findings recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition demonstrate for the first time that in women with low iron stores, ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, when eaten with an iron-fortified breakfast cereal, significantly increased their iron status.

ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit are known to have high levels of Vitamin C and carotenoids, both of which potentially aid the uptake of iron and increase iron stores in the body.

These research findings are extremely important as iron deficiency is the number one micronutrient deficiency, affecting more than 1.6 billion people worldwide, and is the most common cause of anaemia.

Iron is an important dietary mineral that is involved in various bodily functions, including the transport of oxygen in the blood. This is essential in providing energy for daily life. Iron deficiency means less oxygen is delivered to the cells, which can lead to fatigue, tiredness and decreased immunity.

Iron deficiency during childhood and adolescence is known to impair physical growth, mental development, and learning capacity. In adults, it impairs physical performance and cognitive function.

“As dietary management is often recommended as the first line of treatment for people with mild iron deficiency, this research provides us with evidence that by regularly incorporating ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit into meals which also contain iron, women can better manage their energy and iron levels whilst providing positive effects on the brain and the immune system,” said Dr Cath Conlon, Principal Researcher at the Institute of Food Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University.

“This is the first study of its type to investigate whether a Vitamin C rich food was able to improve iron status in women with low iron stores,” said Dr Conlon.

“Whilst this study has been conducted with women who have low iron stores, it is realistic to expect that others who are at risk of iron deficiency would also benefit,” said Dr Conlon.

Individuals at highest risk of iron deficiency and anaemia include: preschool children; pregnant, breast feeding and pre-menopausal women; and athletes.

“These results further demonstrate how the high Vitamin C levels in ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit can strengthen the body’s natural defences for everyday protection,” said Jodi Tong, Category Manager GOLD who looks after ZESPRI’s Health Marketing.

“Two ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit, eaten with iron rich foods* will provide direct benefit to people with low iron levels, or those at risk of anaemia, by increasing the body's iron stores and strengthening overall health and wellbeing,” added Jodi.

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ZESPRI Announces Latest Forecast | Media Release | 22 October 2010


In the latest forecast from kiwifruit marketer ZESPRI, average fruit and service payments for kiwifruit growers are set to increase by $13.7 million or $0.15 per tray on last season.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said: “Market returns this season are up on last year and reflect strong consumer demand for ZESPRI Kiwifruit. However we are still facing challenging market conditions as the global economy emerges from the recession, with Japan and East Asia recovering more quickly than Europe and North America.”

Orchard gate returns for GREEN growers are holding above the $4.00 per tray level and are up by $0.39 on the 2009/10 season. A slower-than-anticipated recovery from recession-level pricing has impacted GREEN ORGANIC returns which are forecast to be down by $0.06 on last year. GOLD returns continue to increase and are forecast to be up by $0.99 on last season, particularly due to strong demand combined with a lower-than anticipated crop volume due to seasonal factors.

Ms Ward said the last vessel of the season is due to depart the Port of Tauranga on Thursday 28 October, destined for Japan. “With approximately 10 percent of the crop yet to sell, the focus is on increasing quality control processes onshore and in the markets to ensure quality remains at a high standard for late-season sales.”

Commenting on foreign exchange impacts, Ms Ward said ZESPRI’s hedging policy, which sets foreign exchange cover in place up to three years prior to season start, had a positive impact on returns. “Had no hedging been in place for this season, average returns could have been up to $0.85 per tray lower than currently forecast,” he said.

“Despite some production and in-market challenges this year, ZESPRI remains focused on driving value back into the GREEN category. We expect some relief for the category over the next few years as GREEN orchards are grafted over to new varieties and productivity improves. 

“In addition, we’ve got some exciting prospects ahead as we learn more about the new varieties commercialised this year, and advance further varieties through our world-leading breeding programme. We’re also strongly focused on research and initiatives to improve consumer understanding of the health benefits of ZESPRI Kiwifruit and expect to announce some exciting news on this front in the next few months.”

AVERAGE ORCHARD GATE RETURN
(Fruit and Service Payments plus the loyalty premium, less post-harvest costs)
POOLS
(FRUIT CATEGORIES)
2009/10 FINAL
OCTOBER 2010 FORECAST
VARIANCE BETWEEN
2009/10 and OCT 2010 FORECAST
ZESPRI® GREEN
$29,561 per ha
$3.70 per tray
$31,353 per ha
$4.09 per tray
+$1,792 per ha
+$0.39 per tray
ZESPRI® GREEN ORGANIC
$39,403 per ha
$5.67 per tray
$35,140 per ha
$5.61 per tray
-$4,263 per ha
-$0.06 per tray
ZESPRI® GOLD
$83,094 per ha
$7.73 per tray
$82,233 per ha
$8.72 per tray
+$861 per ha
+$0.99 per tray

 

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Suspected Bacterial Vine Infection | Media Release | 8 November 2010




MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) is investigating a report of symptoms of disease on kiwifruit vines on a North Island kiwifruit orchard. A preliminary test has suggested that a strain of the bacterial kiwifruit vine disease, Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa), may be present on some vines on the orchard.

MAFBNZ is working closely with ZESPRI, Plant & Food Research and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) to confirm whether the vine infection is Psa – this should be known by Wednesday.

Precautions have been taken to mitigate any risk of spread, including issuing a Restricted Place Notice on the orchard, while MAFBNZ and the kiwifruit industry await test results.

All parties are taking the suspected threat seriously and are acting quickly to minimise the risk. If Psa is confirmed, MAFBNZ will work with ZESPRI and NZKGI to implement an agreed action plan.

In the meantime ZESPRI is working with the industry to advise of the current situation, understand how widespread the issue may be and encourage best practice orchard hygiene. Psa carries no risks associated with human or animal health, and does not affect plants other than kiwifruit vines. This is about the health of the vines, not the health of the fruit.

--- ENDS ---

About PSA
  • Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa or batteriosi) is a disease that affects kiwifruit (Actinidia)
  • It was first identified on green kiwifruit vines (Hayward) in Japan about 25 years ago
  • Psa has never been confirmed as being present in New Zealand
  • Psa was first identified on green kiwifruit vines in Italy in 1992 and has caused substantial
    damage to both green and yellow-fleshed kiwifruit in recent years
  • Psa is also present in Japan and Korea where the disease is controlled by implementing
    appropriate agriculture practices 
PSA Information Sheet available here.

Interviews are available with:
Lain Jager, ZESPRI CEO by calling:
Andrea Brady
ZESPRI Media Manager
Phone: +64-7-572-7757 (office) or +64-21-977-688 (mobile)
Email: andrea.brady@zespri.com

Steve Stuart, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand DDG by calling:
Annie Wright
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand Communications Adviser
Phone: +64-29-894-0654 (mobile)
Email:
annie.wright@maf.govt.nz

About MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) is the division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry charged with the leadership of New Zealand’s biosecurity system. MAFBNZ works on three fronts: working overseas to stop travellers and importers from bringing pest here; working at the border to identify and eliminate pests that do arrive; and working in New Zealand to find, manage or eliminate pests that have established here.

About ZESPRI International Limited
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, ZESPRI is 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employs approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of, and in collaboration with, its 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

About Plant & Food Research
Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand-based science company formed in December 2008 through the merger of HortResearch and Crop & Food Research. With over 800 staff based at sites across New Zealand , Plant & Food Research provides research and development that adds value to fruit, vegetable, crop and food products.

Plant & Food Research's work in elite cultivar development, sustainable production systems and bioprotection, supports the production of high quality produce that earns a premium in international markets, while research into food science and the consumer drives the design and development of new and novel functional foods.

About New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI)
NZKGI was established in 1993 to represent New Zealand’s 3,500 kiwifruit growers and give growers their own voice in industry and government decision making and was formed following the downturn in the kiwifruit industry in the early 1990’s.

NZKGI’s vision is to be a strong grower organisation that demonstrates industry leadership in which growers and other industry participants actively participate. NZKGI’s mission is to represent, protect and enhance the commercial and political interests of New Zealand Kiwifruit growers. NZKGI’s Grower Forum consists of 25 regional and district representatives and 13 industry group representatives. Forum members are elected every three years by all kiwifruit growers via a postal ballot.
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NZ Kiwifruit Industry Announces Aggressive Psa Industry Management Strategy | Media Release | 18 November 2010


New Zealand kiwifruit growers will today hear details of a $50 million joint government and
industry investment towards the aggressive management of the bacterial vine disease, Psa.

The kiwifruit Industry Advisory Council (with grower, post-harvest and ZESPRI
representation) is consulting with growers around the country regarding the industry
management strategy for Psa, which includes a $25 million contribution from the New
Zealand Government, and $25 million from industry.

The strategy provides some assistance for affected growers to take aggressive action on
their orchards to reduce the level of the bacteria and minimise further spread, and lower the
potential losses from Psa.

The investment in this partnership demonstrates the government’s commitment to the New
Zealand kiwifruit industry and the continued development of the long-term management
strategy for Psa.

In the past 12 days, since ZESPRI first found out there was a suspected case of Psa in New
Zealand, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry has acted urgently to pull together and agree
that the only prudent approach is to take an aggressive strategy to managing Psa.

Background

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) confirmed last week that the bacterial vine disease,
Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa), is present on kiwifruit orchards in New Zealand.
The number of affected orchards is 31, which represents less than 1 percent of the New
Zealand industry.

The New Zealand crop is entering the main growing period for the 2010/2011 season; vines
have flowered and are being pollinated. Over 99 percent of the vines are looking great, so
ZESPRI remains confident of a very good season ahead.

Psa is a bacterial vine disease that carries no risks associated with human or animal health,
and does not affect plants other than kiwifruit vines. Psa has been present in Italy, Korea
and Japan for many years but has not previously been detected in New Zealand.

Because Psa is not transmitted on kiwifruit, there has been no change to market access for
New Zealand kiwifruit.

The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is a strong and coordinated industry, working well
together, and is confident that this issue will be overcome to ensure a prosperous future for
the industry.


--- ENDS ---


For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
Andrea Brady
Media Manager
Phone: 021 977 688
Email: andrea.brady@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture
marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium
quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by
current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand,
Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200
growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management,
distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI®
ORGANIC Kiwifruit.
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Kiwifruit Growers Show Strong Support for Aggressive Management of Psa | Media Release | 19 November 2010


With strong support by growers across the industry, the kiwifruit Industry Advisory Council
tonight supported the aggressive management of Psa in New Zealand and authorised
$25 million of industry funding to support the management strategy.

ZESPRI Chairman, John Loughlin, said: “The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is a key export
earner and significant new Zealand employer. I am confident that the Government’s timely
support and $25 million dollar contribution to the Psa Management Strategy will prove to be
a very good investment for New Zealand taxpayers.”

At a series of meetings held across New Zealand yesterday and today, attended by over
1500 growers, the overwhelming majority voted in support of the proposal to aggressively
manage Psa.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager said the objective of the aggressive strategy is to reduce the level of
Psa bacteria across the industry, thereby greatly slowing the spread of the disease which is
expected to significantly reduce the long-term financial impact on the industry.

“The strong grower endorsement of this strategy reflects everyone’s awareness of the
destructive potential of this bacteria and the robust rationale of the risk management plan.
We recognise we will need to adjust the plan as more information becomes available over
the coming weeks, but the main focus right now is to remove infected plant material from
vines on a timely basis to stop the advancement of the infection. This is particularly the case
where symptoms have progressed beyond the initial stage of leaf spotting.”

The aggressive management guidelines have tonight been reviewed and agreed by the IAC
and will be communicated with the industry.

To support this approach, the Government will contribute $25 million. The industry will
contribute $25 million, which comes from existing reserves within the GOLD payment pool
initially, and will be supplemented by contributions from grower pools and a reduced grower
rebate from 2011. This assistance will go some way towards the on-orchard costs and profit
loss borne by affected growers.

Other aspects of the Industry Management Strategy include the establishment of a new
entity to coordinate the Psa long-term management programme and funding towards the
implementation of the strategy and further research and development into understanding
and mitigating the impact of Psa.

Mr Jager said: “This is a first rate example of a Government/industry partnership working in
real time to tackle an urgent business issue. It’s also a tremendous example of the
effectiveness of the integrated kiwifruit industry business model. This is a very positive
action plan that reflects a strong, highly coordinated industry which is owned and governed
by New Zealand kiwifruit growers.”

Key information for growers (updated 20 November)

  1. Adopt recommended orchard hygiene practices, regularly monitor your orchard for Psa
    symptoms and keep updated on the latest information via The Canopy
    (www.zespricanopy.com) and your ZESPRI/packhouse grower representatives. 
  2. Adopt recommended orchard hygiene practices, regularly monitor your orchard for Psa symptoms and keep updated on the latest information via The Canopy (www.zespricanopy.com) and your ZESPRI/packhouse grower representatives. 
  3. If you see Stage 2 symptoms (leaf wilting, dieback and/or exudate), go to The Canopy, complete the ‘Symptom Monitoring Sheet’ and email the completed sheet and digital photos to contactcanopy@zespri.com. Spray copper over affected blocks, prepare to cutback vines by tagging affected areas and await further advice from an independent assessor. The cutback decision will depend on the independent assessment. These growers can then apply for funding (through a process yet to be determined).

Background

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) confirmed last week that the bacterial vine disease,
Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa), is present on kiwifruit orchards in New Zealand.
The number of affected orchards is 51, which represents approximately 1 percent of the New
Zealand industry’s orchard area.

The New Zealand crop is entering the main growing period for the 2010/2011 season; vines
have flowered and are being pollinated. Over 99 percent of the vines are looking great, so
ZESPRI remains confident of a very good season ahead.

Psa is a bacterial vine disease that carries no risks associated with human or animal health,
and does not affect plants other than kiwifruit vines. Psa has been present in Italy, Korea
and Japan for many years but has not previously been detected in New Zealand.
Because Psa is not transmitted on kiwifruit, there has been no change to market access for
New Zealand kiwifruit.

The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is a strong and coordinated industry, working well
together, and is confident that this issue will be overcome to ensure a prosperous future for
the industry.


--- ENDS ---


For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
Andrea Brady
Media Manager
Phone: 021 977 688
Email: andrea.brady@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.
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Kiwifruit Industry Now Focused on Learning to Live with Psa | Media Release | 26 November 2010


Three weeks on from learning that Psa may be present on a Te Puke kiwifruit orchard and
subsequently having that confirmed, a new business is being established to run the ongoing
kiwifruit industry management strategy for Psa.

The special-purpose organisation will be in place by Monday next week with a new Board
comprising representatives from ZESPRI, post-harvest suppliers, New Zealand Kiwifruit
Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).

ZESPRI Director Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said work is underway to
confirm the name, structure, rules and membership of the new organisation. “Affected
growers are understandably seeking details regarding their eligibility for financial assistance,
so we anticipate that one of the new organisation’s first priorities will be to confirm the
details of the financial assistance package, including eligibility requirements and the
application process.”

“ZESPRI has put in place a team of dedicated technical, grower relations, management and
communications staff to project manage the transition to the new organisation – and we’ll
continue to be heavily involved and supportive of the Psa industry management strategy.”

With 80 orchards now confirmed as having the Psa infection, Ms Ward said the industry was
learning more about Psa every day. “Obviously it’s very disappointing news as more growers
receive positive test results for Psa and we’re working very closely with those affected
growers to ensure they have access to the right people and information to support their
orchard management decisions. In addition, there is a large amount of research work
underway to attempt to answer some of the questions we still have on Psa.”

Ms Ward said that over 600 orchards have been assessed and 459 test results have been
received to date. “Approximately 80 percent of test results have come back negative, and
the affected orchard area is still anticipated to be less than 1 percent of the total industry
orchard area.

“In addition, around 95 percent of the infected orchards are only showing the initial
symptom of leaf spotting, and thankfully have not progressed to the more severe symptoms
which indicate vine health is impacted. These orchards are being monitored closely. So,
while we’ve got some urgent challenges ahead as the industry adapts to cope with Psa in the
future, we’re not anticipating any significant impact on production and sales next year.”

The majority (approximately 76 percent) of the Psa-positive orchards are within a 23km
area south of the Te Puke township. One of the latest positive test results was from Gisborne
– the first in that region. Other areas with orchards that have had Psa confirmed are
Hawke’s Bay, Tauranga, Whakatane/Edgecumbe, Waikato, Golden Bay and Motueka.

Ms Ward said that ZESPRI is working closely with MAF to develop a process whereby
restricted place notices can be removed from orchards. “This is likely to happen towards the
end of next week and does not affect the obligations on all orchards regarding the spread of
organisms.” More information regarding the transition will be communicated with affected
growers and the wider industry next week.

In ZESPRI’s latest grower newsletter, the Kiwiflier, ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager recognised the
immense amount of work that has gone on in the past three weeks by thanking those
involved.

“Thank you to the Industry Advisory Council, the Minister of Agriculture the Hon David
Carter, the teams from MAF, ZESPRI and Plant & Food Research, post-harvest operators,
orchard contractors, the artificial pollination industry and beekeepers, and kiwifruit growers
across the country for the urgency and tremendous effort that has gone into addressing the
Psa issue over the past three weeks,” said Mr Jager.

“We all realise that there is much we do not yet understand and this means that the
industry’s response strategy will be necessarily dynamic over the coming year, as we learn
more about the extent and impact of Psa in New Zealand. By working together and applying
specialised and focused resources through the new Psa management organisation, we will
ensure we are monitoring the situation closely, learning quickly and, importantly, are
configured to react in a coordinated and rapid fashion if change is necessary.”

Background

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) advised of a suspected case of the bacterial vine
disease, Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa), on a kiwifruit orchard in Te Puke late on
Friday 5 November, and Psa was confirmed on Monday 8 November. The number of affected
orchards is now 80, which represents approximately 1 percent of the New Zealand industry’s
orchard area.

The New Zealand crop is entering the main growing period for the 2010/11 season; vines
have flowered and are being pollinated. Over 99 percent of the vines are looking great, so
ZESPRI remains confident of a very good season ahead.

Psa is a bacterial vine disease that carries no risks associated with human or animal health,
and does not affect plants other than kiwifruit vines. Psa has been present in Italy, Korea
and Japan for many years but has not previously been detected in New Zealand.

Because Psa is not transmitted on kiwifruit, there has been no change to market access for
New Zealand kiwifruit.


--- ENDS ---


For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
Andrea Brady
Media Manager
Phone: 021 977 688
Email: andrea.brady@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.
« Return

New Era in Kiwifruit Industry; First Fresh and ZESPRI Collaborate on Exports of New Gold Variety | Media Release | 8 February 2011


In a landmark collaborative marketing agreement, provided with indicative approval by industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ), First Fresh NZ Ltd of Gisborne are set to launch a consumer trial of an early variety gold kiwifruit, FIRST GOLD, in Thailand and Hong Kong supermarkets.

This will be the first time a new gold kiwifruit variety has been approved for export under its own brand as part of the collaborative marketing arrangements provided for under Regulation 28 of the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999.

“The clearly defined opportunity is to capture early market space with New Zealand-grown FIRST GOLD and that’s exciting,” said Lain Jager ZESPRI CEO. “Importantly, this trial will help us to understand the interaction between FIRST GOLD and ZESPRI GOLD in the market. It is critical we open the season with a strong product that delivers a positive eating experience because this will help support the growth of the category in the markets. Conversely if the product disappoints early then that will obviously have implications for the broader positioning of the Gold category.

“First Fresh are experienced fruit marketers who are genuinely committed to the quality positioning of New Zealand kiwifruit and this has supported genuine collaboration and mutual agreement to a careful and considered step-by-step approach to market testing and commercialisation of the variety,” Lain continued.

“The trial of this new variety by First Fresh under the collaborative marketing arrangements will represent a new era for the kiwifruit industry and evidence our regulatory arrangements are robust and effective for non-ZESPRI products,” said Lain.

Collaborative marketing applications must meet regulatory requirements to improve the overall wealth of New Zealand kiwifruit suppliers. Currently there are 10 exporters with over 20 different market sales programmes, supplying New Zealand-grown kiwifruit to international markets (excluding Australia) under collaborative marketing approvals.

A limited supply (6,000 tray equivalents) of New Zealand-grown FIRST GOLD kiwifruit will be shipped to Thailand and Hong Kong for consumer sensory trials. This in-market trial will assess the consumer acceptance and commercial viability of FIRST GOLD as an early season entrant that is marketed in advance of the normal supply window for ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit. 

FIRST GOLD kiwifruit has been assessed and trialed in 2009 and 2010 as part of the ZESPRI new variety testing programme. With increased production volumes available in 2011, First Fresh NZ Ltd., in collaboration with ZESPRI, developed and submitted a collaborative marketing proposal to take FIRST GOLD into consumer trials in two key export markets.

The First Fresh collaborative marketing application was fully supported by ZESPRI as FIRST GOLD seeks to extend the category for New Zealand kiwifruit by providing a product that will occupy retail space that is not currently filled by New Zealand-grown kiwifruit. Significant collaboration between First Fresh and ZESPRI will continue in-market to achieve the best possible result for New Zealand kiwifruit suppliers.

“First Fresh has a long history in fruit supply and we remain committed to and passionate about the kiwifruit industry,” says First Fresh founder and current Chairman, Mr Bill Thorpe. “As strong supporters of the SPE industry structure, we have been able to create an opportunity through collaborative marketing to export other kiwifruit varieties, whilst protecting the wealth of New Zealand growers”.  

“We are excited about taking a new variety of gold kiwifruit into the consumer market,” said Mr Ian Albers, First Fresh Managing Director. “This collaborative approach to product testing and market development ensures that New Zealand-grown fruit taken into overseas markets is positioned strongly and that the benefits flow back to growers here.”

First Fresh, who currently export Class II green kiwifruit to Australia  and have a strong presence in both the domestic and export marketing arena for a wide range of products, will be responsible for creating a niche market in Thailand for FIRST GOLD, which will be available well before ZESPRI® GOLD enters the market.

First Fresh have successfully marketed FIRST GOLD into Australia in both 2009 and 2010.This experience with the product and a long-established working relationship with Thailand importer and distributor City Fresh Fruit Co, who manage other fruit and vegetable products from New Zealand, will facilitate access to retail markets and the appropriate positioning of FIRST GOLD.
   
“The markets of Thailand and Hong Kong have been selected because they are emerging markets with a strong demand for New Zealand Kiwifruit,” said Mr Albers. “Partner retail outlets in Thailand include Tops, Big-C, Tesco Lotus, Makro, Villa and Carrefour, which are all known as innovative marketers, supportive of line extension work.”

“Consumers in these markets are keen ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit purchasers and the promise of a high-taste gold variety that is available earlier than ZESPRI® GOLD will be an attractive prospect,” added Mr Albers.

ZESPRI Asia will act as the sales agent in Hong Kong, marketing and conducting consumer testing of FIRST GOLD exclusively through Wellcome Supermarkets; Hong Kong’s largest and longest established supermarket.

“This programme demonstrates collaboration in the truest sense of the word,” says Lain Jager, ZESPRI CEO. “It brings together New Zealand kiwifruit growers and sales agents and overlays the international marketing expertise of ZESPRI in order to present an exciting prospect in the form of an early, high-taste gold kiwifruit to the discerning consumer.”  

New Zealand-grown FIRST GOLD is expected to be priced at least equal to that of ZESPRI GOLD® Kiwifruit in each market, allowing a smooth transition for the introduction of larger volumes of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit.

FIRST GOLD kiwifruit originate from the Gisborne orchard of Mr Fred Lewis and the Bay of Plenty orchard of Mr Simon Dickie. Each have made a significant investment in converting to FIRST GOLD and together with other growers have the potential to increase productivity to achieve a target of 400,000 trays by 2014.

The harvest and packing of fruit for the FIRST GOLD collaborative marketing programme will be conducted by NZ Fruits Ltd of Gisborne to meet all export quality size and taste requirements. The crop is expected to be harvested in March 2011 and following grading and packing, will be shipped to Thailand and Hong Kong, ready for limited retail sale in early April 2011.  

-ends-

About First Fresh NZ Limited:
First Fresh NZ Ltd is a Gisborne-based fruit and produce marketing company formed in 1989 by chairman Bill Thorpe. The creation of a marketing organisation to represent his considerable growing and packing interests was the logical next step. In the ensuing 22 years First Fresh has become a stalwart of the Gisborne Horticultural scene. It is the longest serving marketing company in the region and together with sister company NZ Fruits Ltd provides shareholder and independent growers with first class post harvest facilities and over 100 years of combined experience in marketing and orchard management.
www.firstfresh.co.nz
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ZESPRI Donates $100,000 to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal | Media Release | 3 March 2011


ZESPRI will donate $100,000 to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal to support victims of the devastating earthquake.

ZESPRI Chief Financial Officer, Merv Dallas, said: “Our hearts go out to Christchurch residents and visitors who have been affected by this tragedy. In considering how ZESPRI could assist, we felt a significant cash contribution would be the most effective means of support, and we’ll pay this through to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal on the 4th of March.”

One of ZESPRI’s customers in Japan, Aeon Co. Ltd., has announced that, from 21 April to 20 May, it will donate JP¥1 (approx. NZ$0.01) from each kiwifruit sold in 1200 of its stores, to the Christchurch Relief Fund. In addition AEON 1% Club which consists of the Aeon group of companies donated JP¥ 10 million (approx. NZ$165,000) to New Zealand Embassy last month.

“We are very humbled by this gesture from Aeon, who is likely to sell around 2.5 million kiwifruit or packs of kiwifruit during this period,” said Mr Dallas. “Unfortunately Japan is connected to this tragedy through a number of Japanese people who were present in Christchurch at the time of the quake, some of whom are still missing, and our thoughts are also with their families and friends.”

“This event in New Zealand has reminded us of the earthquake that hit Kobe in 1995 and the terrible impact that had on that city, and also of the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake which impacted many kiwifruit growers in the Bay of Plenty.

“It has also been most humbling to see the international teams that have come to New Zealand to assist in the rescue and recovery with teams from Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, USA, Mexico and Britain to name a few.

“New Zealand is such a small place and it is highly likely that every New Zealander will know someone who has been impacted by this disaster in some form and this is why we are so humbled by the support from our international friends.”

ZESPRI’s in-market teams in Asia and Europe are working with New Zealand Embassy staff on how they can support the Appeal.

ZESPRI is also providing redundant packaging (boxes) to supermarkets and collection points to assist with the collection of food and other items, and is encouraging staff to wear red and black tomorrow and contribute a donation towards the relief fund.

Aeon Co. Ltd. Statement
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ZESPRI Industry Challenge Welcomes Other Harvest | Media Release | 4 March 2011


At Centennial Park in Te Puke on Friday 25 February, the ZESPRI Industry Challenge saw nearly 200 kiwifruit industry members come together to celebrate the beginning of the 2011 harvest. The half-day and evening included games followed by a shared meal giving teams the opportunity to bond with each other and build some industry camaraderie before the harvest.

As another hot February day dawned, participants arrived bright and early to set up and it was evident that, once again, the day would be fun-filled and competitive. 12 teams from the kiwifruit industry competed against each other in five different ‘Top-Town’ style games and activities.

A sixth game saw the teams cheering on the event sponsors. There were hundreds of prizes given away, including spot prizes, with all teams competing for the much-coveted wooden trophy. Kiwi Produce won the trophy with a total of 60 points, followed by Aerocool (53 points) and Trevelyan’s close behind in third (52 points).

Michele A’Court, well-known New Zealand comedian, emceed throughout the day making sure participants were enjoying themselves. Event Organiser and Communications Coordinator, Claire Smart, did an outstanding job in bringing the day together: “It was great to see so many people from the industry coming together and having a good time on the day. The set-up and support teams were fantastic. The teams all got on so well and it was a neat all-industry event to kick the season off,” said Claire.

Given the challenges facing the industry due to Psa, the decision to hold the Industry Challenge was not taken lightly. But, due to lots of interest from both sponsors and teams, the day went ahead as an opportunity for some light relief and good times together before the harvest, which kicks off in mid-March. ZESPRI would like to thank all the teams that took part in this year’s ZESPRI Industry Challenge.

The day would not be possible without the amazing support from sponsors and other contractors. ZESPRI and the kiwifruit industry would like to thank the following sponsors: major sponsor Rabobank and game sponsors: Sinclair/Jenkins Group, Compac-Lenz, Farmlands/Skeltons and Amcor Kiwi Pack & Strap.

Congratulations to all the competitors! Final placings on the day were:
Kiwi Produce First Place
Aerocool Second Place
Trevelyan’s Third Place
Eastpack B Fourth Place
Apata Avengers Fifth Place
DMS Bunch Six Place
Grower Team Seventh Place
Eastpack A Eighth Place
Jace Enterprises Ninth Place
Physically Fragile Researchers Tenth Place
ZESPRI Team Eleventh Place
The Xtra’s Eleventh Place

Winners of each game:
Sinclair/Jenkins Magic Carpet Race Eastpack B
Compac-Lenz Wall Obstacle Apata Avengers
Amcor Kiwi Pack & Strap Trevelyan’s
Farmlands/Skeltons Kiwi Dragon Boat Race DMS Bunch
Rabobank Horizontal Bungy Aerocool

Sponsors Cup Winner:
Farmlands/Skeltons

Best-dressed:
Jace Enterprises

Best supporting team:
Apata Avengers


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Young Kiwifruit Grower off on Italy Exchange | Media Release | 8 March 2011


Pyes Pa Kiwifruit grower Campbell Wood will travel to Italy on a three month exchange as the 2011 participant in the ZESPRI-funded Bruce Stowell Work Exchange Programme.

Campbell, who also recently won the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower of the Year, will be in Italy from August to November this year, where he will work on a local orchard. As part of the exchange an Italian grower will visit New Zealand in March.

The Bruce Stowell Work Exchange Programme was established in 2009 in memory of Bruce Stowell, a former HortResearch employee who spent 18 months in Italy assisting Italian growers establish the growing of the ZESPRI® GOLD varieties. Mr Stowell unexpectedly passed away in 2002.

The objective of the exchange programme is to transfer knowledge of the ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit variety and build strong, ongoing relationships in the global kiwifruit community.

Campbell currently works as a vine manger on an organic and conventional orchard in Pyes Pa.

He has a special interest in kiwifruit vine management, with emphasis on getting the best return from the orchard, balancing the attributes of yield, fruit size, taste and other market requirements to produce the best economic outcome.

“Going to Italy will be a great opportunity for me and I look forward to what I can learn from the growers in Italy and vice versa,” Campbell says.

ZESPRI’s Global Supply Manager Simon Limmer says he’s pleased to welcome Campbell to the exchange programme.

“The horticulture industry is working hard to encourage young horticulturists into the industry. Campbell is the perfect example of a younger generation of hard working growers that we need more off.

“ZESPRI is confident that he will do the memory of Bruce Stowell proud,” Simon Limmer says.

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For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.


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2011 Kiwifruit Season Underway with Great Harvest Forecast | Media Release | 17 March 2011


Another predicted strong kiwifruit season is underway with Gisborne growers the first to begin picking ZESPRI® GOLD kiwifruit this week.

ZESPRI’s GM Supply Chain, Sally Gardiner, says early indications are that the volume of the 2011 season will be similar to last year’s, with around 100 million trays of kiwifruit being exported.

“Growing conditions have been fantastic, with more rainfall and higher temperatures on average compared to last season and we are expecting a great crop as a result.

“With the start of the season there is always a real buzz in the industry as the hard work done through the growing season starts to deliver, as all those working in the industry prepare themselves for the very busy months ahead and the anticipation builds in our offshore markets for the arrival of new season fruit.”

One of the first orchardists to start picking was Gisborne grower Kaiaponi Farms, Scott Wilson: “We have had a fantastic growing season, the fruit is looking great with high taste and it’s great to get picking underway,” he says.

Post-harvest operator OPAC is packing some of the first fruit. Operations Manager Warren Short says it is good to have the packing season underway with fruit from Gisborne growers being the first to kick-start the 2011 New Zealand kiwifruit season.

Ms Gardiner says with picking started, it is expected the first of this season’s ZESPRI® Kiwifruit will be shipped from New Zealand next week and will start to arrive in overseas markets in mid-April.

“We are confident that there will again be strong demand for ZESPRI’s premium kiwifruit in overseas markets despite ongoing global economic uncertainty and the still-to-be-determined impact on demand in our key market of Japan from the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

“We also face the challenge of Psa, and as an industry we are working together as a cohesive and focused team, alongside Government, to address it. While monitoring and hygiene practices throughout the industry have changed as a result of Psa, the number of orchards impacted still represents less than 2 percent of the industry and customers will not see any impact on sales volumes in our overseas markets this year.”

ZESPRI’s in-market teams are preparing for their trade and consumer launch PR events and marketing campaigns, with a continued focus on the health and vitality benefits of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit. The selling season will commence in mid-April in Asia, and in early May throughout Europe and in North America.

Among the early season fruit to be picked are two of the new varieties of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit – an early gold variety, and an earlier, sweeter green variety - released to growers in June last year for commercial use. A third variety, a potentially long-storing gold variety which has the potential to extend the ZESPRI® GOLD selling season, was also released to growers at the same time.

‘First Gold’, a new variety of early Gold Kiwifruit owned by Y356 Ltd. and part of a collaborative marketing arrangement with ZESPRI, was harvested last week. Gisborne company First Fresh will manage the consumer trial of First Gold this year.

First Fresh Managing Director, Ian Albers, says: “There is already fruit on the water to Singapore and Thailand with arrival in the marketplace timed for late March or early April. We were very pleased with the taste and appearance of this fruit and look forward to seeing it firsthand when it arrives.”

Significant collaboration between First Fresh and ZESPRI will continue in-market to achieve the best possible result for New Zealand kiwifruit suppliers.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, says the licences to grow the new ZESPRI varieties were eagerly snapped up by growers last year, which was a great show of confidence in the future of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

“Innovation is vital to the future growth of ZESPRI and the New Zealand kiwifruit industry and the new varieties are the result of ZESPRI and Plant & Food Research working together for over 20 years to establish the world’s largest and most successful kiwifruit breeding programme,” Ms Ward says.

ZESPRI has confirmed it will make available at least 200ha of kiwifruit variety licences to kiwifruit growers in June this year, and potentially more subject to further supply chain and in-market consumer assessment in the next few months.

In the coming months, around 25,000 people, mostly seasonal workers, will be employed by the New Zealand kiwifruit industry to harvest, pack and ship ZESPRI® GREEN, GOLD and ORGANIC kiwifruit, injecting millions of dollars into the New Zealand economy. The kiwifruit industry is working with other agencies to help find seasonal work for displaced Christchurch workers.

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For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com


About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

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First 2011 kiwifruit shipment for Japan carries relief supplies | Media Release | 31 March 2011


ZESPRI’s first shipment of kiwifruit to Japan from New Zealand for 2011 is carrying 30,000 litres of packaged water for relief efforts, alongside around 500,000 trays of new season ZESPRI® GOLD kiwifruit.

ZESPRI’s GM Supply Chain, Sally Gardiner, says the 2011 shipping programme has started as planned with the M.V.Haru Verdy leaving Tauranga yesterday bound for Kobe and Tokyo, Japan. A second shipment of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit is due to leave Tauranga early next week, also bound for Tokyo and Kobe.

“Like many New Zealand exporters, ZESPRI has been monitoring the situation in Japan closely following the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami there earlier this month,” Ms Gardiner said.

“Our first thoughts were for the safety of our 17 staff based in Japan. We were also concerned for the safety and wellbeing of our customers and distributors there, many with who we have formed strong bonds and friendships over decades of working together.

“Thankfully, they were all safe and well and we continue to ensure that our Japan-based staff and their families are fully supported.

“Given our long association with Japan we wanted to contribute to the relief efforts there by supplying packaged water,” Ms Gardiner said.

ZESPRI would also like to thank the other companies that contributed to getting the shipment of water to Japan; Aquaceuticals NZ, ISO Stevedoring, Tauranga Kiwifruit Logistics, Port of Tauranga Ltd, and Fresh Carriers Co Ltd, the operators of the M.V.Haru Verdy, who are shipping the water for free.

Ms Gardiner said the new season kiwifruit is due to arrive in-market in Japan in mid-April.
“Our suppliers in Japan tell us that demand for ZESPRI® Kiwifruit remains strong, and based on this, our export programme to Japan will continue as planned,” Ms Gardiner said.

“Shortly after these initial shipments to Japan, shipments of ZESPRI® GREEN, GOLD and ORGANIC kiwifruit will begin to other key markets in Asia, Europe and North America.

“The 2011 season is on track to be a strong one. Early indications are that the volume produced during the 2011 season will be similar to last year’s, with around 100 million trays of kiwifruit being exported,” Ms Gardiner said.

In the coming months, around 25,000 people, mostly seasonal workers, will be employed by the New Zealand kiwifruit industry to harvest, pack and ship ZESPRI® GREEN, GOLD and ORGANIC kiwifruit, injecting millions of dollars into the New Zealand economy.


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For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.
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Celebrating a New Zealand Export Success Story | Media Release | 3 May 2011


ZESPRI and the wider New Zealand kiwifruit industry have gone to Parliament today to formally thank the New Zealand Government for its long-term support of the kiwifruit industry; support which enabled it to return over $1 billion in export earnings to New Zealand last year.

The event, held in Wellington at Parliament’s Beehive Banquet Hall, was hosted by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges and attended by Prime Minister John Key, cross party Members of Parliament, senior Government officials, business leaders and kiwifruit industry leaders.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager said the New Zealand Government’s support of the industry through the Kiwifruit Regulations, passed in 1999, had given the kiwifruit industry the certainty and the capacity to grow at almost 10 percent a year over the last decade, the fastest annual growth rate of any New Zealand primary industry.

Mr Jager said today’s event doubled as both a thank you and a chance for ZESPRI to outline its future growth plans to triple the kiwifruit industry’s export earnings to $3 billion by 2025.

“Twenty years ago, we were a fragmented industry with seven exporters out-bidding each other onshore and undercutting and price bargaining in the real marketplace.

“There was no collective way to deal with these challenges. It was an individual fight for survival.

“Growers realised their future lay in a new industry model and pulled together to ask the Government to support a Single Point of Entry industry model.

“Today, as a result of the industry model, we are a sophisticated and highly successful export industry. Our industry can focus on delivering top quality fruit to market, meaning growers get premium returns for their efforts,” Mr Jager said.

This year, ZESPRI will export over 100 million trays of kiwifruit to more than 50 countries, the industry will employ tens of thousands of New Zealanders and it will return over $1 billion in export earnings to New Zealand.

ZESPRI will also invest almost $100 million in offshore marketing and will contribute around $10 million toward the $25 million invested by various agencies into innovation within the kiwifruit industry this year.

This innovation investment will be in areas such as new varieties, health and nutrition, sustainability, supply chain efficiencies, productivity improvements, and pest and disease management.

For example, working in conjunction with Plant & Food Research Ltd, ZESPRI’s new varieties programme now has approximately 100,000 cultivars, making it the biggest kiwifruit breeding programme in the world.

“Industry cohesion has given ZESPRI the confidence and certainty to make these significant investments in market-led research and promotions, supply chain management and innovation to ensure the New Zealand kiwifruit industry remains a world leader.

“We thank the then Labour Government for its foresight in 1999 to support the Kiwifruit Industry Regulations, and we thank today’s Government for its continued support for an industry model that the industry wants and overwhelmingly supports.

“It is a model which has generated a real New Zealand export success story,” Mr Jager said.

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Please click here to read the speech from ZESPRI CEO, Lain Jager.

Please click here to view a video about the NZ kiwifruit industry that was played at the event.

For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile) Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

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Kiwifruit Contained Following Typhoid Case | Media Release | 13 May 2011


ZESPRI has been notified by Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) that a Bay of Plenty-based kiwifruit picker has contracted the gastrointestinal bacterial disease, typhoid.

The person involved is in hospital being monitored and is expected to be discharged today. The person is an overseas worker, and public health officials believe they had the illness before
entering New Zealand.

A risk assessment has been undertaken by the Public Health Service and MAF food safety officials and although the risk that any fruit is affected is extremely low, ZESPRI has taken the proactive and precautionary measure of containing any fruit that may have come into contact with the affected worker.

ZESPRI has a highly sophisticated supply chain with quality traceability systems and this has allowed us to quickly identify the location of fruit and isolate it.

As a result around 100,000 trays of export kiwifruit have been withdrawn from the supply chain and options to dispose of it are being worked through. This represents less than 0.1 percent of exports as this year ZESPRI expects to export over 100 million trays of kiwifruit.

Because proactive containment measures are being taken, we are very confident that this fruit will not be made available for consumption in ZESPRI’s markets.

ZESPRI will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities to monitor the situation and report any updates.

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About Typhoid

Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease, caused by Salmonella typhi. It is more common in developing countries with poor sanitation and sewage facilities.

For further information from ZESPRI, please contact:

David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
ZESPRI International
Phone: 07 572 7771 or 027 234 5665
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com
For further information on the public health response please contact:

Debbie Phillips
Communications Officer
Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service
Phone: 07 577 3793 or 021 791 814
Email: Debbie.Phillips@bopdhb.govt.nz

About ZESPRI International Limited
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, ZESPRI is 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employs approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of, and in collaboration with, its 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.
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2010 kiwifruit season lifts returns to growers | Media Release | 24 May 2011


A strong 2010 kiwifruit season has lifted total payments to growers above season forecasts, with a particular highlight being a significant boost in returns to GREEN kiwifruit growers over the 2009 season, ZESPRI’s 2010/11 financial results show.

Total returns to growers in 2010/11 improved from $849.0 million to $883.3 million compared to the prior year, an increase of four percent, with average Orchard Gate Returns to ZESPRI GREEN growers increasing nine percent to $32,234.

Net global kiwifruit sales increased one percent to $1.511 billion in 2010/11, despite the global volume of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit sold falling one percent in the same period.

ZESPRI’s Chairman John Loughlin said the results were particularly pleasing when considering the challenges facing kiwifruit growers.

“A stuttering global economic recovery, rising oil prices, seasonal challenges in New Zealand, the impact of Psa on ZESPRI’s orchards in Italy and the confirmation of Psa in New Zealand, meant a tough environment in 2010/11,” Mr Loughlin said.

“Against this backdrop, delivering increased total returns to growers is a testament to the
New Zealand kiwifruit industry’s ability to keep innovating and keep delivering.

“The increased return to green kiwifruit growers was a highlight because average orchard yields were down by four percent, freight costs due to rising oil prices were up five percent and the New Zealand dollar strengthened through the year.

“The industry is benefiting from strong growth in Asian markets, which delivers both a positive market mix effect and supports pricing across all markets as demand generally outstrips supply.”

Mr Loughlin said ZESPRI’s net profit had fallen significantly, from $25.9 million to $7.3 million. The fall was primarily due to contributing $12.9 million to the response to Psa in New Zealand, and increasing the loyalty payment to growers from 15 cents per tray to 25 cents per tray.

The Board has announced an intention to declare a final dividend of four cents per share to be paid in August 2011.

The early signs for the 2011/12 selling season are for another challenging year in the face of further increases in oil prices and a strong New Zealand dollar. Increased volumes of GREEN ORGANIC (increase of 9 percent) and GOLD (increase of 28 percent) will put pressure on average market returns as more fruit will go into lower returning markets than in previous years.

Indicative returns are therefore expected to be slightly lower than 2010/11.

Zespri 2010-11 Annual Results -Table of indicative returns

Mr Loughlin said beyond the 2011 season the future of the kiwifruit industry in the short to medium term was uncertain, with the impact of Psa yet to be determined.

“ZESPRI, like the wider kiwifruit industry, is focused on Psa and is leading a significant research and development programme into all aspects of the vine disease,” Mr Loughlin said.

This financial year ZESPRI will contribute around $2.6 million toward an almost $3.5 million multi-agency investment programme in Psa research and development.

“We have a tough 24 to 48 months ahead of us as we learn how to live with and manage Psa. However, I’m confident the industry will overcome Psa and meet its long-term growth plan to triple export earnings from $1 billion today, to $3 billion by 2025,” Mr Loughlin said.

Zespri 2010-11 Annual Results - table of financial highlights
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For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile) Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

History of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Industry Structure
During the 1980s, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry was fragmented, with seven exporters out-bidding each other onshore and undercutting and price bargaining in the real marketplace. The industry faced significant increases in volumes, alongside a high New Zealand dollar and high interest rates. There was no collective way to deal with these challenges – it was an individual fight for survival.
 
On the 16th of June 1988 growers voted to establish the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board as a single desk exporter under grower control – a landmark decision which saw the industry starting to operate within a truly cohesive framework. The development of a single brand and greater coordination of supply chain, innovation and marketing activities, formed the foundation of what is now a $1.5 billion dollar industry and undoubtedly the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company.

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Global Response to Psa Research and Development Programme | Media Release | 24 May 2011


ZESPRI, in coordination with Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH), is spearheading a global research and development programme to protect the $1.5 billion New Zealand kiwifruit industry from the vine disease Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa).

The programme includes around 50 research projects, some of which are already completed. These projects partner researchers, scientists and other global experts together to provide the best available advice for the kiwifruit industry to understand and manage Psa.

The research projects will focus on four areas; detection of Psa, biology of Psa, on-orchard management techniques, and treatment or reduction of the disease, and will be overseen by a committee of at least four international experts who specialise in various aspects of biological science.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager said by the end of this financial year, over $4.6 million of collective funding, including Government funding, will have been invested in the programme.

“The New Zealand kiwifruit industry, like others around the world, is under significant pressure from Psa. We have a period of uncertainty ahead of us as we learn more about Psa and how to manage it,” Mr Jager said.

Mr Jager said the industry did not know how damaging Psa will prove to be in
New Zealand, but did know from experience in Italy that Psa had the potential to be very destructive to orchards.

“There is no greater issue for the kiwifruit industry and that is why ZESPRI, and others, are going to commit significant resource to overcome Psa.

“While the impact of Psa is likely to get worse before it gets better I’m confident that the kiwifruit industry, with its record of innovation and cooperation, will overcome Psa and resume its long-term growth plans,” Mr Jager said.

KVH General Manager John Burke said there were now 229 confirmed cases of Psa within New Zealand, with 107 orchards confirmed as having the virulent strain of Psa, known as Psa-V. All of the confirmed Psa-V cases continue to be confined to two priority zones in the wider Te Puke area.

However, this week there has been preliminary positive Psa-V tests returned for four orchards outside the Te Puke Psa priority zones. Three of those orchards are in the wider Te Puke area, and one is in Gisborne.

A second test is now underway to confirm these results. The detected orchards and surrounding orchards are taking the appropriate steps to minimise the spread of the disease.

“Unfortunately, there is always a risk that Psa will spread. Our challenge is to keep applying the best available knowledge to ensure we slow the spread of Psa as much as possible until there is a scientific breakthrough,” Mr Burke said.

Mr Burke said a number of research projects, which began when Psa was first confirmed in New Zealand, have already been completed and outcomes from those projects were informing the response.

The research and development programme was outlined to hundreds of Bay of Plenty growers in a series of meetings last week and is being discussed with growers around the country.

Mr Burke said it was important all growers were fully informed and were working closely together to optimise the Psa management response for each growing location.

“On the basis of what we know of Psa today, this is a time that, perhaps more than ever before, we need to stick together and take a united approach to an industry-wide issue,” Mr Burke said.

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For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

About KVH
Kiwifruit Vine Health Inc. (KVH) is an independent pan-industry organisation that is leading the kiwifruit industry response to the Psa incursion. It was established following agreement of the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) to transition the management of the Psa response from MAF Biosecurity NZ and ZESPRI to a separate entity.
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ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit is a better source of vitamin C than supplements | Media Release | 27 May 2011


New research has discovered that vitamin C from ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit is far more effectively absorbed into the body than a supplement.

In a recent study published by the internationally heralded American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers at University of Otago, Christchurch found that mice absorbed vitamin C from ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit five times more effectively than an artificial vitamin C supplement.

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Margreet Vissers said “Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for humans as it assists in completing a variety of chemical reactions in organs and body tissues essential for daily health. As humans are unable to generate their own vitamin C, vitamin C needs to be sourced from the foods we eat”.

In this study, vitamin C-deficient mice were fed a known quantity of vitamin C over a month, either as ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit or as an equivalent of artificial vitamin C supplement.

“The results were astounding – the mice that were fed the ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit absorbed vitamin C much more effectively than those given the purified supplement form, and they also retained it in their organs and tissues for longer,” added Professor Vissers.

This research is the first of its kind to demonstrate the effectiveness of a food source of vitamin C in achieving and maintaining optimal vitamin C levels compared to a supplement, one of the most commonly consumed vitamin supplements.

Natalie Milne, Health Marketing Manager for ZESPRI said, “These vitamin C results are very exciting for ZESPRI. To know the vitamin C in ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit – a natural fruit, grown here in a clean, green and safe environment - is more than 5 times better absorbed by the body than a vitamin C supplement, confirms our view that ZESPRI® Kiwifruit can naturally strengthen and protect the body for daily good health".

“Eating just one ZESPRI® Kiwifruit a day provides you with your daily requirement of vitamin C and offers much more; they are high in fibre, aid protein digestion and contain vitamin E. When eaten daily, as part of a healthy diet, ZESPRI® Kiwifruit offer numerous health benefits; allowing individuals to stay healthy and fight disease and infection,” added Ms Milne.

This study is just one phase of ZESPRI’s innovative health science programme, partnering with leading international researchers to demonstrate the valuable role that kiwifruit can play in naturally protecting the body and boosting health and vitality.

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For more information, images or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
Andrea Brady
mobile: +64 (0) 21 977 688
email: andrea@catalystcommunication.co.nz

Interviews are available with:
  • Natalie Milne, Health Marketing Manager ZESPRI Group Limited
  • Associate Professor Margreet Vissers, University of Otago, Christchurch
  • Lynley Drummond, Health Science Advisor, ZESPRI Group Limited

A detailed overview of the research conducted is available upon request.

Healthy and nutritious kiwifruit recipe ideas are available at www.zespri.com



About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.
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Better to eat kiwifruit than to take vitamin C supplements | Media Release | 27 May 2011


University of Otago, Christchurch, researchers have found that a natural fruit source of vitamin C – kiwifruit – is vastly superior to a purified supplement form.

The researchers are studying kiwifruit as a source of dietary vitamin C and found that in mice eating kiwifruit, vitamin C uptake was five times as effective as taking a purified supplement form.

The study was recently published in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, the highest ranking journal for human nutrition research.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Margreet Vissers says people require vitamin C (ascorbate) in all body tissues and organs to be healthy. Our bodies cannot make the vitamin and we should obtain it from our food. It is also available in purified form and is arguably the most commonly consumed vitamin supplement.

In the experiment vitamin C-deficient mice were fed the vitamin over a month, either as kiwifruit or as an equivalent amount of pure vitamin C.

Mice fed the kiwifruit absorbed vitamin C much more efficiently than those given the purified supplement form, and they also retained it for longer. This suggests that there is something in the fruit that improves absorption and retention.

Vissers says: “The findings of the mouse trial have important implications for human nutrition”.

To determine whether this situation also applies to people would require a human trial and an equivalent human study is now underway.

“The question that has often been asked is whether a supplement is as good a source of vitamin C as whole foods, but few studies have addressed this issue. We are uniquely placed to do that work.’’

The mouse study was funded by Zespri and the University of Otago.

For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

Margreet Vissers,
Research Associate Professor, Pathology Department, University of Otago, Christchurch.
Tel: 027 228 2164
Email: margreet.vissers@otago.ac.nz

Or:
Kim Thomas,
Senior Communications Advisor, University of Otago, Christchurch.
Tel: 027 222 6016
Email: kim.thomas@otago.ac.nz
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New Zealand kiwifruit industry sets new shipping record | Media Release | 7 June 2011


In a New Zealand kiwifruit industry first, 160 refrigerated containers, containing 832,000 trays of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit, have been loaded and delivered to the Port of Tauranga for export in a 12-hour period.

This new shipping record for the industry meant that over the 12-hour period on Saturday, 4 June a container was loaded with kiwifruit every four-and-a-half minutes.

Tauranga Kiwifruit Logistics General Manager Ian Mearns said the record number of containers loaded was a testament to the dedication of truck drivers, data entry operators, coolstore staff, transport coordinators and the checkpoint personnel at the Port of Tauranga.

Mr Mearns, who oversees the logistics operation for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry at the Port of Tauranga, said while the loading of 160 containers in one day was a record, he wanted it to become a standard for the industry.

“As the industry continues to grow and evolve we must constantly be looking at ways to increase our productivity. The length of the season doesn’t really change so as productivity improves we just have to handle more kiwifruit.

“To do this we employ technology and communication tools to work smarter. We look forward to the challenge of 160 containers a day being a regular occurrence,” Mr Mearns said.

ZESPRI’s GM Supply Chain Sally Gardiner said the strength of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry is its unity, and this kind of achievement underlines how the industry works together to meet the needs of our international markets.

Ms Gardiner said the 2011 kiwifruit season was on track as planned, despite wet weather disrupting picking operations.

“The industry made the most of the fine days and really worked hard to get the fruit picked when the weather allowed it. This means we have now almost finished picking ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit and are 85 percent through the harvest of ZESPRI® GREEN kiwifruit,” Ms Gardiner said.

During the 2011 season ZESPRI will fill 63 chartered vessels as well as a further 7000 containers with over 100 million trays of New Zealand kiwifruit to be shipped to 55 countries around the world.

ENDS

For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:

David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

History of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Industry Structure
During the 1980s, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry was fragmented, with seven exporters out-bidding each other onshore and undercutting and price bargaining in the real marketplace. The industry faced significant increases in volumes, alongside a high New Zealand dollar and high interest rates. There was no collective way to deal with these challenges – it was an individual fight for survival.

On the 16th of June 1988 growers voted to establish the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board as a single desk exporter under grower control – a landmark decision which saw the industry starting to operate within a truly cohesive framework. The development of a single brand and greater coordination of supply chain, innovation and marketing activities, formed the foundation of what is now a $1.5 billion dollar industry and undoubtedly the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company.
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Important development reached in key Psa research programme | Media Release | 15 June 2011


An important development in delivering Psa-clean pollen to the kiwifruit industry has been reached, with research establishing a high temperature treatment can kill Psa without impacting viability of the pollen.

The research carried out with funding from ZESPRI and Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) with research partner Plant & Food Research Ltd, working with an industry pollen producer, Kiwi Pollen NZ Ltd, provides a potential breakthrough for kiwifruit growers ahead of artificial pollination beginning in October.

Artificial pollination is an essential practice for many kiwifruit growers to increase the yield and quality of fruit produced on their orchards. ZESPRI has been working closely with pollen companies from across the industry to share ideas and develop protocols to minimise any potential risks associated with pollen.

Kiwi Pollen approached ZESPRI and Plant & Food earlier this year about some promising initial research they had done on the heat treatment of pollen. Kiwi Pollen offered to provide their findings to a wider research programme underway into cleaning pollen of Psa.

Further trial research conducted by Plant & Food Research has confirmed that exposing Psa to certain temperature-time combinations is an effective way of killing Psa while maintaining the viability of the pollen.

Kiwi Pollen director, Jill Hamlyn, said the potential breakthrough was promising and she hoped it would help end the uncertainty for orchardists needing to balance recommended Psa orchard management practices, with the need to continue with artificial pollination next season.

The next stage in the pollen research programme is to develop a method of applying heat treatment on a commercial scale and to develop a test to give certainty that pollen heat-treated on a commercial scale is free of Psa.

ZESPRI GM of Quality and Innovation Dr David Tanner said the pollen research was a critical project for the industry, and was one of around 50 research projects started soon after the outbreak of Psa in November 2010.

“These projects are partnering with the best scientific minds in New Zealand and globally to research key areas of Psa including detection of the disease, the biology of the disease, on-orchard management techniques, and treatment or reduction of the disease,” Dr Tanner said.

Plant & Food Research’s Business Development Manager for Kiwifruit, Stuart Kay, said the contribution of Kiwi Pollen to this particular project is a great example of the industry working with the scientists to come up with practical solutions that can contribute toward the management of Psa.

--- ENDS ---

For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

Kiwi Pollen NZ
Rachel McLeod
021 537 718

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.
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ZESPRI still committed to working with T&G | Media Release | 15 June 2011


ZESPRI’s Chief Executive, Lain Jager, says the company remains willing to work constructively with Turners & Growers Ltd (T&G) on a multi-year collaborative marketing application involving new cultivars that it hopes would be capable of being approved by industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ).

Mr Jager was commenting on the decision by industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand that it could not approve the latest application by Turners & Growers (T&G) to export New Zealand kiwifruit beyond Australia.

The application was to export multiple varieties, some of which have not yet been planted in New Zealand, to unspecified markets for a period of five years with renewals for up to 20 years.

“The application could not be supported by ZESPRI because it amounted to open slather and T&G did not show it was in the best interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers, as the law requires,” Mr Jager said.

“Should T&G be interested in coming back with a more serious proposal that it can show is in the interests of New Zealand kiwifruit growers, we are confident we will be able to advise the regulator that we support it.

“Collaborative marketing is working. Already ZESPRI works with 13 companies, including T&G, which are exporting kiwifruit beyond Australia. This includes, for the first time, the recently announced collaborative marketing arrangement involving a new variety, First Gold developed by Gisborne-based First Fresh.”

Mr Jager said it was disappointing T&G had not been prepared to move from its demand that there effectively be a 20-year free-for-all.

“We have had senior executives working for nearly a year to try to make this work for T&G, but it appears T&G is more interested in trying to make a political point than make progress commercially.”
--- ENDS ---
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ZESPRI releases new variety licences | Media Release | 15 June 2011


The world’s most successful horticulture marketer, ZESPRI Group Ltd, today announced the release of up to 400 hectares of new variety licences, to help meet strong future market demand for premium quality ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.

Up to 200 hectares of a sweet green variety, Green14, and up to 200 hectares of a gold variety, Gold3, both commercialised in June last year, will be licensed to be planted or grafted by growers over the next two seasons. This represents an increase of approximately 3 percent in the area of New Zealand land currently planted in kiwifruit.

The decision to licence more hectares follows an 11-year development programme by ZESPRI, in association with the New Zealand Government through Plant & Food Research and the Ministry of Science & Innovation, five years of on-orchard, storage, shipping and taste tests in New Zealand, Europe and Japan, and extensive work with growers and international customers.

ZESPRI Chief Executive Lain Jager said the licensing decisions were made in the context of market demand and industry growth targets, current learnings about each variety, and also the risks and impacts associated with Psa.

“New varieties provide the New Zealand kiwifruit industry with huge potential to energise and grow the category, and improve wealth for growers and the New Zealand economy. We’re anticipating strong future demand from both consumers and retail customers for a portfolio of premium-quality kiwifruit products, and our world-leading kiwifruit breeding programme is best placed globally to deliver that.

“Obviously, the industry is facing some uncertainty and challenges ahead with regards to the risks and impacts of Psa, and the decision to release further new variety licences was made in this context.

“We’ve just completed a series of meetings with growers around the country, where there was a clear signal of demand for kiwifruit licences, and clearly it will be up to growers to assess the risks and make decisions that suit their individual circumstances. We’ll be supporting that decision making process by providing extensive information about potential risks, and some growers may choose to wait until next season when we will have a clearer view of the Psa risk in particular.”

Mr Jager said the gold variety being released has outstanding production characteristics. “Growers tell us that Gold3 is a pleasure to grow and the lack of a beak means it handles well through the packing process. While it was originally thought to be an early extension to the GOLD selling window, Gold3 has also shown potential as a long-storing variety, so we’re continuing to assess that possibility. We’re conducting further storage research into Gold3 and another strong gold candidate, Gold9, and we’ll consider releasing more licences in February next year.”

The new, sweet green variety will attract new consumers to the green category given its characteristically sweeter taste. “Green14 is more challenging to grow but we anticipate that, with limited volumes, it will deliver growers a significantly higher return than ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit, so will be attractive to growers wanting to diversify into a premium niche green offering.”

Mr Jager said ZESPRI’s kiwifruit breeding programme, in partnership with Plant & Food Research, currently has over 100,000 potential new seedlings, and is a key part of delivering to ZESPRI’s goal of tripling industry export revenues to $3 billion by 2025.

He said there was particular interest in red varieties and he expected that ZESPRI will be in a position to assess a red variety for commercialisation in June 2012.

“ZESPRI has a responsibility to its grower shareholders to ensure that new variety decisions are made with their commercial interests and the risks and impact of Psa in mind. That’s why we proceed with caution, by releasing controlled volumes of only the very best kiwifruit, following a hugely extensive trial process, and we involve growers in those decisions.”

Growers are being informed about the new variety decisions by phone and email messages, and during presentations at ZESPRI’s site at Mystery Creek Fieldays. A detailed pack of information will be posted to all growers on Monday 20 June.

--- ENDS ---


For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

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ZESPRI quantifies kiwifruit water footprint | Media Release | 1 July 2011


In a New Zealand first, ZESPRI has undertaken a comprehensive investigation of the water footprint across the lifecycle of green kiwifruit as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainable production and sustainable future growth.

The study, completed by Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research and AgriLink New Zealand and co-funded by ZESPRI and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, is the first of its kind in New Zealand. It has the aim of developing a method for measuring the environmental impact of the water footprint of products.

ZESPRI’s General Manager Quality and Innovation Dr David Tanner said taking a leading position on sustainability is critical to support ZESPRI’s premium position in the market, where there is increasing scrutiny from retailers and consumers to verify the environmental credentials of products.

“It makes good business sense to identify the eco-efficient advantages that come from reducing our total water footprint. This means ZESPRI is future proofing itself as customers become increasingly focused on the water footprint of the products they purchase,” Dr Tanner said.

The research found of the total water used during the production of one piece of kiwifruit only two litres was from irrigation. The national average of the total amount of water consumed per kiwifruit produced on the orchard was 42 litres.

Landcare Research Project Leader, Dr Anthony Hume, said using one of the methods advocated by the Water Footprint Network, the research found that at the orchard 85 percent of the water used in the life cycle of ZESPRI kiwifruit was ‘green’ water, or rainwater and moisture retained in the root zone.

Plant and Food Research Science Group Leader, Dr Brent Clothier, said the great news from the research was the majority of the water used in the production of kiwifruit comes directly from rainwater, some part of which even replenishes groundwater.

Of the remaining water five percent was ‘blue’ water, or renewable surface or groundwater used for irrigation, and 10 percent was ‘grey’ water, or the volume of water needed to dilute any orchard inputs, for example nitrogen fertilizer, to a level better than drinking water standards.

Dr Tanner said ZESPRI partnered with the agencies and opened up its entire supply chain for fruit grown in New Zealand and exported to Europe for the purposes of the study.

“This type of research is increasingly gaining international recognition with several different methods being developed in parallel. For ZESPRI, being involved in the study is both an important step for our own understanding of these different methods, as well as making a contribution to global knowledge on water use.

“Increasing pressure on the world’s water resource is a significant issue on the agenda of Governments, NGOs and retailers. Part of ZESPRI’s commitment to sustainability is developing local solutions to global issues.

“This allows ZESPRI to underline its commitment to sustainability by gaining a better understanding of water use and reduction opportunities across the supply chain from the orchard to the market,” Dr Tanner said.

Dr Hume said the use of product-orientated carbon and water footprinting measures within the kiwifruit industry serves as a good example of how building knowledge through targeted research can produce significant improvement in environmental performance.

The study follows ZESPRI being the first kiwifruit marketer globally to undertake a comprehensive review of the carbon footprint of the lifecycle of the New Zealand Kiwifruit, which was released in 2009.

Dr Tanner said ZESPRI had committed to triple its export earnings from $1 billion to $3 billion by 2025. The water and carbon footprint studies are a vital part of this strategy to support efficient resource use and preservation of the natural environment that underpins the business.

Note: When reviewing the ZESPRI® Kiwifruit water footprint number it is important to remember that there is no current, globally accepted methodology for measuring water footprints, so making direct comparisons of water consumption between products is difficult. The Water Footprint Network (WFN), a global organisation established to develop broadly shared global standards on water footprint accounting, has measured the global average water footprint of a number of products. These can be seen at www.waterfootprint.org.

--- ENDS ---

For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:

David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

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World-leading bacteriophage technology enlisted in fight against Psa | Media Release | 6 July 2011


As part of the global research and development programme into the kiwifruit vine killing disease Psa, ZESPRI has formed a partnership with world-leading bacteriophage producer Utah-based OmniLytics Incorporated.

Bacteriophage (phage) are viruses that infect and kill bacteria. As the natural predator to bacteria, phage are found in almost every environment in nature, including within the food we eat and the water we drink.

OmniLytics is the world-leader in phage technology, especially in the control of plant pathogens in horticultural crops. This includes developing phage-based solutions for bacterial disease in tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cabbage, melons, strawberry, apples, pears, citrus and ornamentals.

OmniLytics CEO, Justin Reber, said his company feels the sense of urgency from the kiwifruit industry to develop a solution to Psa.

“We are moving forward with urgency on this project to help provide the kiwifruit industry with a viable, long-term bacterial control solution,” Mr Reber said.

“Our relationship with ZESPRI is a perfect illustration of OmniLytics’ partnering strategy to team with ‘world leaders’ in their respective markets with a goal to jointly develop and commercialize innovative bacteriophage solutions.”

ZESPRI’s Innovation Manager Bryan Parkes said the partnership with OmniLytics is an example of the global scope of the research and development programme underway into Psa, which is being led by ZESPRI in coordination with Kiwifruit Vine Health.

Mr Parkes said as a biological control phage are non-toxic to humans, plants and animals, leave no residues and are perfectly safe with no harmful side effects. This is a tremendous advantage when it comes to worker re-entry into the fields, through packaging of the produce and all the way down to end-user consumption.

In addition, phage have proven to be highly effective in the field to control some plant bacterial diseases and are relatively inexpensive to produce. It was for these reasons that the development of a biological control using Psa-specific phage is being explored for the control of Psa-V.

--- ENDS ---

For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney (for ZESPRI)
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com

Alan Walbeck (for OmniLytics)
Phone: +1.801.746.3600 x320
Email: awalbeck@omnilytics.com

About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

About OmniLytics, Inc.
OmniLytics is a bacteriophage company focused on developing safe, natural solutions for infectious disease control. OmniLytics was the first company to work with any United States regulatory agency on a submission claiming bacteriophage as the active ingredient, and with the approval of its AgriPhage product in 2005, it became the first company to receive a registration from any US regulatory body. OmniLytics continues to expand its research and development of bacteriophage solutions for control of microorganisms in agricultural, food & water, industrial, pharmaceutical, and defense markets. OmniLytics’ proprietary formulas and processes optimize the use of natural bacteriophage for commercial applications. For more information about OmniLytics, visit www.omnilytics.com.

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T&G fails again in the High Court | Media Release | 14 August 2011


The High Court of New Zealand has rejected the latest attempt by a one percent player in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, Turners & Growers (T&G), to break up its successful marketing structure, managed by ZESPRI Group Ltd.
 
Five claims taken by T&G against ZESPRI under the Commerce Act, in a court case heard in May this year, have been thrown out. The Court also ordered costs be paid to ZESPRI.
 
These claims, which followed the rejection by the High Court of T&G’s initial attempt to have the Kiwifruit Industry Regulations declared illegal, focused on ZESPRI’s conduct within the current regulated industry framework.
 
The latest failure in T&G’s increasingly desperate campaign to break up the kiwifruit industry has led ZESPRI, the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company, to again call upon T&G to work constructively within the industry legislation to achieve its commercial objectives.
 
ZESPRI’s GM Grower and Government Relations Simon Limmer said since T&G began its deregulation campaign it had tried litigation, political pressure, secret talks with foreign Governments and threats to disrupt market access for New Zealand kiwifruit growers offshore.
 
He said defending the T&G litigation had cost kiwifruit growers millions of dollars.
 
“As we said from the outset, T&G’s litigation was always entirely without merit and is nothing but a publicity stunt in the context of their broader campaign to deregulate the industry. 
 
“From our perspective the continued campaign to deregulate the industry is cynical and a waste of growers’ money, at a time when the industry is under tremendous pressure from Psa. 
 
“This case, like T&G’s wider campaign, has been a pointless distraction for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry at a time when it is focused on much more pressing issues,” Mr Limmer said.
 
--- ENDS ---
 
For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com
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Satisfactory 2010/11 Result but Psa Challenges Ahead | Media Release | 17 August 2011



ZESPRI’s 2011 Annual Meeting delivered a realistic outlook of the impact of the vine-killing disease Psa on the kiwifruit industry, with a recap of the 2010/11 season, which delivered satisfactory returns for growers despite ongoing currency volatility and global economic instability.

Over 300 shareholders attended ZESPRI’s Annual Meeting, held in Tauranga today. This was the first Annual Meeting since the confirmation of Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa) in New Zealand last November.

Reflecting on the 2010/11 season, ZESPRI Chairman John Loughlin said returns to growers were satisfactory in the face of a challenging global economic environment.

Total returns to growers in 2010/11 improved from $849.0 million to $883.3 million compared to 2009/10, an increase of four percent. A pleasing result was average per tray Orchard Gate Returns to ZESPRI® GREEN growers were $4.21 a tray, meaning on a per hectare basis the return to GREEN growers increased nine percent to $32,234 last season.

Mr Loughlin said in 2010/11 ZESPRI’s net profit had fallen significantly, from $25.9 million to $7.3 million. The fall was primarily due to contributing $12.9 million to the response to Psa in New Zealand, and increasing the loyalty payment to growers from 15 cents per tray to 25 cents per tray.

Mr Loughlin said the global economic environment in 2011/12 was not going to be any more favourable for the industry.

“The united structure of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry is again going to be the cornerstone of supporting returns to growers this season in such uncertain times,” Mr Loughlin said.

Growers were informed of the first forecast returns for the 2011/12 season. All categories were forecast to be down on a per tray basis compared to last year. However, much higher productivity meant growers would still be getting per hectare returns similar to those received in 2010/11.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager outlined how ZESPRI was reprioritising work and resources to prepare for the impact of Psa.

“The fact is we still do not know how Psa will impact on our business, but there is clear downside potential. It continues to spread, and the disease may well have a significant impact on production in coming seasons.

“We have dramatically re-prioritised resources and directed them into a significant global Psa research and development programme,” Mr Jager said.

Mr Loughlin said in re-prioritising resources, ZESPRI had to strike a balance between decisive urgency to ensure that it has a future, whilst ensuring that urgent actions do not compromise that future.

“We are confident that a long-term viable solution will be found to Psa in the next two to four years.

“Once the solution is found, ZESPRI needs to be in the position to rebound quickly, because there remains huge opportunity for the industry to meet its long-term goal of growing exports to $3 billion by around 2025,” Mr Loughlin said.

Mr Loughlin said in the meantime ZESPRI needed to do all it could as part of the wider industry effort to slow the spread of the virulent Psa-V, and support those growers who had lost part, or all of their orchards.

Outcomes of the meeting included:
  • Three Directors – Craig Greenlees, David Pilkington and Ray Sharp – retired by normal rotation. All three sought re-election. David Pilkington and Ray Sharp were both re-elected uncontested and grower shareholders voted Craig Greenlees into the vacant director spot.
  • There was very strong shareholder support (98.3% support) for ZESPRI to provide support and services to Kiwifruit Vine Health, including without limitation the management and conduct of a Psa-related research and development programme.



To view the Chairman and CEO 2011 AGM Speeches please click here.
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ZESPRI Welcomes Removal of Tariff | Media Release | 12 November 2011


 
An agreement between the New Zealand and Mexico Governments to end the tariff on New Zealand kiwifruit exports to Mexico will return over $1 million to the kiwifruit industry.
 
ZESPRI’s GM Grower and Government Relations Simon Limmer said New Zealand was the only kiwifruit producing country to face a tariff on its kiwifruit exports to Mexico.
 
“We are very grateful for the efforts of Trade Minister Tim Groser, and New Zealand Embassy staff in Mexico, who have worked with the Mexico Government to achieve this change.
 
“Eliminating the tariff makes New Zealand kiwifruit more competitive in Mexico and removes a barrier to growing the market further,” Mr Limmer said.
 
Mr Limmer said the elimination of the tariff could not come at a better time for the industry with returns under pressure from lower crop volumes and returns as a result of Psa.
 
“This is a small but important win for us to be able to deliver growers. It will reduce the almost $40,000 burden that tariffs were estimated to have cost New Zealand kiwifruit growers in 2010.
 
“The result also underlines the benefit of an industry structure which can work with government in a coordinated manner to achieve outcomes that benefit the entire industry,” Mr Limmer said.
 
As part of the deepening relationship between New Zealand and Mexico, in particular with the Mexican state of Jalisco, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry has been working with Mexico to assess the potential to develop their own domestic kiwifruit industry.
 
Mr Limmer said Mexico is of interest to ZESPRI as a potential partner for its 12-month supply programme, which ensures a ZESPRI brand presence on shelves outside of the New Zealand growing season.
 
“With the likely impact of Psa on Gold volumes over coming seasons, identifying new growing regions free of Psa takes on a new importance. We think Mexico has real potential for them to become players in the Northern Hemisphere production.”
 
ENDS
 
For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com
 
 
About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit.  Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America.  On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.
 
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ZESPRI® GOLD Can Help Reduce Cold Symptoms | Media Release | 19 December 2011


New research reinforces the health and nutritional benefits of Gold kiwifruit, finding that eating the fruit on a regular basis helps to reduce the symptoms of a cold.
 
The study, "Consumption of gold kiwifruit reduces severity and duration of selected upper respiratory tract symptoms and increases plasma Vitamin C concentration in healthy older adults", was completed by Plant & Food Research and has been published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
 
The research was sponsored by ZESPRI, and is part of an ongoing drive by ZESPRI, in association with leading health research bodies, to understand the health and nutrition benefits of both green and gold kiwifruit.
 
In the study it was found that regular consumption of gold kiwifruit did show benefits in reducing certain symptoms of colds, namely; the duration of sore throat and head congestion and the severity of head congestion.
 
The 20-week study was conducted over the winter and spring period and tracked the health of 37 healthy older people. The participants were asked to eat ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit daily for four weeks then switch to banana (or vice versa), with a four week kiwifruit/ banana-free period prior to each treatment period.
 
The results showed a reduction in self-reported cold symptoms with gold kiwifruit compared to banana, with sore throat symptoms reducing from 5.4 days to 2.0 days and head congestion from 4.7 days to 0.9 days.
 
Natalie Milne, Health Marketing Manager for ZESPRI, said the study was further evidence of the tremendous nutritional properties of kiwifruit. 
 
“Eating just one ZESPRI® Kiwifruit a day provides you with your daily requirement of vitamin C and offers much more; they are high in fibre, aid protein digestion and contain vitamin E. When eaten daily, as part of a healthy diet, ZESPRI® Kiwifruit offer numerous health benefits; allowing individuals to stay healthy and fight disease and infection,” Ms Milne said.

ENDS
 
For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:
David Courtney
Senior Communications Advisor
Phone: 07 572 7771 (office) or 027 234 5665 (mobile)
Email: david.courtney@zespri.com
 
About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit.  Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America.  On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.
 
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Industry Recovery Discussion Paper | Media Release | 23 February 2012


 

ZESPRI Releases Industry Recovery Discussion Paper  

 

 

The world’s most successful horticulture marketer, ZESPRI Group Ltd, has announced today a possible recovery pathway from the devastating vine disease, Psa, which would see a broad-scale release of a new gold variety, known as Gold3 over the next three years. 

 

While no variety is fully tolerant to Psa, Gold3 is showing a good level of tolerance, compared to Hort16A and 45 other varieties from the same kiwifruit species. This has been supported by bioassay results, and also more importantly by observations and experience in the field in both New Zealand and offshore.

 

Should these very promising observations continue until May this year, ZESPRI is planning to release enough hectares of Gold3, to cover the grafting demand from growers of the original gold variety, Hort16A, which appears to be most susceptible to Psa. This is the first step in a recovery process that will take at least three years.

 

Additional licences (up to 400ha) of Gold3 would also be made available for any other interested growers. A further 200ha of Green14, a sweet green variety which is also showing a positive market response and a good level of tolerance to Psa, will also be made available.

 

Gold3 has naturally high orchard yields, appears easier to manage through the supply chain than Hort16A, stores well late in the season and delivers a good eating experience to consumers, with positive responses received through in-market consumer sensory work over consecutive seasons.

 

ZESPRI’s GM Grower & Government Relations, Simon Limmer, said that ZESPRI would be discussing the proposed approach with growers and other industry representatives to seek their feedback on any licence release process, over the next few weeks, before the ZESPRI Board makes a final decision on the release in March 2012.
 
 

"As a 100 percent grower-owned organisation, ZESPRI’s focus is to facilitate the recovery of the GOLD category and assist the industry to return to its pre-Psa growth plans and sustained grower profitability," said Mr Limmer. "Any proposed recovery pathway which introduces a rapid transition to new varieties must satisfy a number of critical market performance criteria, including taste, quality and consistency, storage and market performance. Everything we do onshore must be balanced with the needs of our offshore markets with a view to protecting future grower returns."

 

The bacterial disease Psa was identified in New Zealand in November 2010, and today 41 percent of kiwifruit orchard area in New Zealand has some level of infection. The disease affects only vines, not fruit, and is more damaging to the original gold variety, Hort16A, than ZESPRI’s other varieties. The traditional green variety, known as Hayward, which represents around 70


ZESPRI released Gold3 and Green14 in 2010, after a 10-year development programme by ZESPRI, in association with the New Zealand Government through Plant & Food Research, four years of on-orchard, storage, shipping and taste tests in New Zealand, Europe and Japan, and extensive work with growers and international customers. This year over 1 million trays of these two varieties will be exported and extensively tested with consumers in key markets overseas, as well as through the supply chain.

 

As with any new variety, there is risk involved and growers need to make a decision based on their orchard circumstances and risk profile. ZESPRI will be providing full information about each variety at upcoming grower meetings and in a detailed document prior to the licence process opening in May.

 

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2012 Kiwifruit Harvest Underway | Media Release | 19 March 2012


The 2012 kiwifruit harvest has begun in New Zealand, with the first shipment of ZESPRI GOLD kiwifruit due to depart for Japan in early April, and arriving in market mid-April.
 
The first kiwifruit orchards to be picked were in the Poverty Bay region, traditionally the earliest maturing of New Zealand’s kiwifruit growing regions.
 
ZESPRI’s General Manager Supply Chain, Sally Gardiner, said while the total export volume in 2012 would be down compared to last year, the final crop estimate had increased over earlier crop estimates for the 2012 season.
 
“2011 produced a record crop for the industry of around 115 million trays, an increase of 12 percent on the 2010 season. In 2012, we expect that due to Psa and seasonal factors the crop will be around 95 million trays, which is closer to the production of a more normal season,” Ms Gardiner said.
 
It is estimated this year the industry will harvest up to 20 million trays of gold (Hort16A) kiwifruit, around 70 million trays of green kiwifruit, around 3.5 million trays of organic kiwifruit (making ZESPRI the largest exporter of certified organic produce from New Zealand) and around 2 million trays of ZESPRI’s newly-commercialised varieties.
 
“What is really exciting is seeing new variety volumes increase. The kiwifruit industry has identified one of these varieties, known as Gold3, as the potential future foundation for our gold kiwifruit category in a Psa environment. 
 
“This year we will have up to one million trays of Gold3 and it will allow us to continue to build the profile of this fruit with our customers around the world and also increase our understanding of the fruit’s performance throughout the ZESPRI supply chain,” Ms Gardiner said.
 
The Gold3 variety was commercialised in 2010 after a 10-year development programme to ensure it had the necessary qualities to be a commercially successful kiwifruit variety. In addition, Gold3 has shown good levels of Psa tolerance, which is now also a necessary quality for any successful commercial kiwifruit variety.
 
A decision will be made by ZESPRI on 21 March as to whether there will be a wide-scale release of Gold3 licences to kiwifruit growers this year to begin the industry’s recovery pathway from Psa.
 
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers president Neil Trebilco, said the start of the 2012 harvest brings mixed feelings in the industry as it continues to deal with the impact of Psa and looks to re-build from the disease.
 
“It’s great to be starting picking. There is always a real anticipation after a season’s hard work in preparing the crop for harvest. But growers’ anticipation is tempered by the knowledge that some of their fellow growers will not harvest a crop, or only harvest a partial crop in 2012, because of Psa.
 
“For some growers this will be their first year without a crop, and for other growers they are facing the fact that once their vines have been picked they will likely have to be cut out and grafted across to a more Psa tolerant variety. 
 
“There are a couple of tough years ahead for the industry as it builds its pathway out of Psa, but we are confident we will emerge from the current challenging times in stronger shape,” Mr Trebilco said.
 
ENDS
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Psa Recovery Pathway Launched | Media Release | 21 March 2012


ZESPRI has announced the start of a recovery pathway from the devastating vine-killing disease Psa involving the wide-scale release of a newly commercialised gold kiwifruit variety, known as Gold3.
 
ZESPRI Chairman John Loughlin said today was a major milestone for the industry.
 
“For 18 months Psa has had a devastating impact on the ZESPRI GOLD Hort16A variety destroying the livelihoods of orchard owners, and putting those communities relying on the kiwifruit industry under significant pressure.
 
“In that time everyone has worked incredibly hard to understand the disease and establish a viable pathway out of Psa, which will return the industry to its long-term growth path. Today is the culmination of this work and marks the turning point at which the industry begins to rebuild,” Mr Loughlin said.
 
Since Psa was confirmed in New Zealand in November 2010, it has infected over 40 percent of the country’s kiwifruit hectares. The level of infection in orchards ranges from low-level leaf-spotting symptoms to entire orchards having to be cut out.
 
Psa has been particularly devastating on the original ZESPRI GOLD kiwifruit variety, known as Hort16A, with around a third of the country’s Hort16A orchards predicted to be cut out by the end of the 2012 harvest due to infection.
 
Mr Loughlin said because of the extreme vulnerability of Hort16A to Psa, the recovery pathway was focused on moving current Hort16A growers across to growing Gold3, which is showing good Psa tolerance combined with proven characteristics to make it a commercial success. Those key commercial qualities include taste, quality and consistency, storage and market performance.
 
Gold3 has naturally high orchard yields, appears easier to manage through the supply chain than Hort16A, stores well late in the season and delivers a good eating experience to consumers, with positive responses received through in-market consumer sensory work over consecutive seasons.
 
While no variety is fully resistant to Psa, Gold3 appears to be showing a good level of tolerance, compared to Hort16A and 45 other varieties from the same kiwifruit species. This is supported by an extensive laboratory research programme, and also more importantly by observations and experience on orchard in both New Zealand and offshore.
 
Under the recovery pathway all current Hort16A growers will be able to access Gold3 licences if they choose to graft across. Once a grower has grafted across it will take up to three years for them to return to full production.
 
A further 400 hectares of Gold3 are being released to allow other growers the opportunity to diversify their orchards into different varieties of kiwifruit and in doing so diversify their income streams.
 
“ZESPRI is being very clear to growers that this pathway is not without risk. We do not have all the knowledge on either the Psa or the commercial performance of Gold3. However, based on what is known to date we are confident this pathway is realistic and gives the industry its best chance of coming out of Psa,” Mr Loughlin said.
 
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers President Neil Trebilco said while the release of the pathway signalled fresh hope for growers, there was still some distance to go before the industry recovered from Psa.
 
“There will be more orchardists who will need to cut their orchards out, which means they will be without income for at least a further year until their Gold3 vines begin to produce a crop.
 
“While it is great to be talking about a starting point, we have to remember that many growers will be hurting for some time yet.
 
“That we have got to this point is because of our unified industry structure, which has ensured that the response to Psa has been as focused and coordinated as possible. Once again our industry structure has overwhelmingly proven its benefit to all growers,” Mr Trebilco said. 
 
Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH), the pan-industry body established to manage the industry response to Psa, said the wide release of Gold3 was a major step in the recovery pathway.
 
KVH spokesman Terry Richards said this is a significant step but that the hard work continues for the industry as the disease remains a long-term risk for all kiwifruit growers.
 
“Our focus going forward is to continue to get best available scientific knowledge and practical information to growers about minimising the impact of Psa on orchards.”
 
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Leading Rural Banks Sponsor Psa R&D programme | Media Release | 23 April 2012


The global Kiwifruit Vine Health/ZESPRI Psa Research and Development Programme, has been boosted with a significant sponsorship from leading rural bank, ANZ National.
 
A second bank, Rabobank, has also contributed to the programme, and further contributions have been made by the Te Puke Fruitgrowers Association, The Green Growers Association and Alto Packaging.
 
ZESPRI’s Psa Innovation General Manager, Dr David Tanner, said the sponsorships were a sign of confidence in the progress being made by the Psa R&D programme toward establishing a commercially viable pathway forward for the kiwifruit industry.
 
“It is great that ANZ National and Rabobank are contributing to the R&D pathway out of Psa. From early on in the Psa crisis they have been clear in their support for the industry and for their grower clients who have had orchards hit by the disease.”
 
Dr Tanner said the support from the banks, Alto Packaging, and from local fruit growing associations, is a sign of the united approach taken by the kiwifruit industry to work together to get through the devastation caused by Psa.
 
“ZESPRI has recently announced the first step in a Psa recovery pathway, with the wide scale release of a new Gold kiwifruit variety known as Gold3. Critical to the success of the recovery will be an ongoing commitment to R&D, which is also why support from these key industry partners is so welcome,” Dr Tanner said.
 
Graham Turley, ANZ National’s Managing Director Agri and Commercial, said the bank was proud to get behind the research programme.
 
“As the leading bank for the kiwifruit industry, we’re committed to working with the industry so it can come through this crisis as strong as possible,” Mr Turley said.
 
“To achieve this, we must first have a solid understanding of where the industry stands on this crisis, and where it is going. The Psa Research and Development Programme will help provide the knowledge to manage the challenges ahead.
 
“Often, a crisis brings out the best in people, and that’s certainly been the case with Psa. It has been incredibly heartening to see the whole industry working together, and working really hard to find solutions. This is an important industry initiative that we are proud to be part of.”
 
ANZ National has also invested in a working group of experts from across the bank to keep it up to date with what is happening in the orchards and with the growers, and has appointed a Director - Kiwifruit, to ensure it has a central base of knowledge and understanding of the impact of Psa
 
Rabobank’s Chief Executive Officer, Ben Russell, said Rabobank’s contribution to the research programme was part of the bank’s commitment to working with the kiwifruit sector in its efforts to develop strategies to mitigate Psa.
 
“Led by ZESPRI and Kiwifruit Vine Health Inc, the kiwifruit industry has responded quickly to Psa and there are a number of promising mitigation strategies under development, using a combination of management and genetics.  Time will tell how successful these will be, but it is encouraging to see the first steps on the pathway to recovery now being taken,” he said
 
 “As a specialist in agribusiness, Rabobank understands the variables in agriculture and takes a long-term outlook in supporting clients through periods of difficulty, such as the Psa outbreak. Rabobank will continue to work closely with our clients, and with the kiwifruit sector as a whole, to achieve financial viability in the longer term.”
 
KVH Chief Executive, Barry O’Neil, said support for the research programme from leading financial and industry organisations is extremely encouraging for growers.
 
“These sponsorship initiatives are indicative of the goodwill amongst our stakeholders and their backing for our work to find Psa solutions that will return the kiwifruit industry to optimal health and production.”
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Record Kiwifruit Volume for 2011 | Media Release | 25 May 2012


ZESPRI’s 2011/12 financial results show a lift in global revenue of seven percent to NZ$1.62 billion, on the back of a record volume crop of 116.5 million trays of kiwifruit. The record crop volume increased total returns to New Zealand growers in 2011/12 by 11 percent to $980.4 million, with the average Orchard Gate Return for growers increasing  by 8.1 percent to $45,206 per hectare.

ZESPRI Chairman John Loughlin said being able to sell the record-size crop in an orderly manner, while ensuring ZESPRI could maintain a premium position in its markets, was a significant success in 2011/12. “As is the case for so many of New Zealand’s primary producers, ongoing global economic uncertainty, rising costs and a volatile dollar are providing significant headwinds for ZESPRI.  It is in these difficult times that the united structure of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry really proves its worth,” Mr Loughlin said.

Mr Loughlin said these factors would continue to be a drag on the industry in 2012/13, and their impact would be compounded by the fact the 2012 harvest is the first where crop volumes have been significantly hit by the vine-killing disease Psa. “After 2011’s record ZESPRI® GOLD volume of 29 million trays, we expect the industry will produce somewhere around 20 million trays of ZESPRI® GOLD this year.  This drop in volume will put much of the industry under pressure, but particularly those growers who have lost part or all of their orchards to Psa.

“ZESPRI has positioned itself for these lower volumes in 2012/13, through a reduction of $10 million (14.4 percent) in corporate costs.   “We expect Psa to further impact on Gold volumes in 2013/14.  However, in 2014/15 we expect to see Gold volumes recover, as the Psa-recovery pathway centered around the ZESPRI variety Gold3 begins to take effect,” Mr Loughlin said.
Mr Loughlin said a real challenge for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry in coming years is moving from a situation of declining volumes due to Psa, to rapidly-growing volumes in a very short space of time, should the recovery pathway prove successful.

ZESPRI’s net profit for 2011/12 was $20.5 million, compared to $7.3 million in 2010/11.  Mr Loughlin said it was important to note the timing of ZESPRI’s Psa funding contribution to Kiwifruit Vine Health, on behalf of the industry, had a significant impact on profit results over the past two years.  Adjusted for Psa funding, ZESPRI’s net profit would have been similar for 2010/11 and 2011/12 at approximately $16 million. ZESPRI will continue to invest significantly in its research and development response to Psa, Mr Loughlin said.

ZESPRI has also released the first forecast of indicative returns to growers for the 2012/13 season.  The forecast range for both GREEN and ORGANIC remain similar to the 2011/12 returns, while the forecast range for GOLD growers is significantly higher, due to lower volumes.

2012/13 Indicative Returns (per-tray)

 


[1] Total Fruit and Service Payments are all payments made by ZESPRI to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry for the supply of kiwifruit.

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Over 2000 Hectares Of Gold3 Released To Begin Psa Recovery Pathway | Media Release | 14 June 2012


ZESPRI has today announced the next stage in the recovery pathway from the devastating vine-killing disease Psa with the release of 2068 hectares of Gold3, a commercialised kiwifruit variety with tolerance to the disease.

 

Gold3 is a kiwifruit variety commercialised in 2010 by ZESPRI after 10 years of development.  It was selected from the extensive ZESPRI and Plant & Food Research new variety programme for its qualities of high orchard yields, handling characteristics, storage and positive appeal to consumers determined through in-market sensory work over consecutive seasons.

 

Subsequent to its commercial release, Gold3 has, to date, shown a greater level of tolerance to Psa than the original ZESPRI® GOLD variety, Hort16A.  This level of Psa tolerance combined with Gold3’s commercial qualities has made it the cornerstone of the recovery pathway from Psa.

 

ZESPRI Chief Executive, Lain Jager, said the wide-scale release of Gold3 was significant for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry for two reasons. 

 

Firstly, of the 2068 hectares of Gold3 released, 1610 hectares will be to Hort16A growers, starting the process of all Hort16A growers eventually transitioning their orchards to a more Psa tolerant Gold cultivar.

 

Secondly, this will be the largest transition to a new variety in a year that has ever been undertaken by the industry and represents the transition of almost 15 percent of New Zealand’s kiwifruit hectarage to a new variety.  The previous largest transition to a new variety was in 2000, with the release of 1200 hectares of Hort16A to the industry. 

 

“The impact of Psa on the New Zealand kiwifruit industry has been devastating.  Almost half of all New Zealand kiwifruit hectares now have some level of infection.  With this transition to Gold3 we can see that around 1600 hectares of Hort16A canopy will be cut out as a result of Psa since November 2010.

 

“The announcement today is a significant turning point for our industry both in terms of beginning to emerge from Psa and in cementing the future growth of the industry,” Mr Jager said.

 

As well as the release of Gold3 to current Hort16A growers, a further 359 Gold3 hectares have been released to non-Hort16A growers, to give them an opportunity to diversify their orchard portfolio and have access to a higher-performing cultivar. 

 

Mr Jager cautioned while the release was a real positive for the industry, there still remained a high level of risk around the Gold3 recovery pathway.

 

“There are no Psa resistant varieties.  This means even with the introduction of a variety with greater Psa tolerance, the learning curve for the industry as to how to best manage orchards in a Psa environment remains steep.

 

“Mitigating this risk will require the proactive management of orchards and an ongoing commitment to innovation.  Managing the threat of Psa must now be considered as business-as-usual for all growers and the wider industry.”

 

Mr Jager said while the presence of Psa would mean a level of ongoing uncertainty for kiwifruit producers, the kiwifruit industry’s unified structure coupled with the resilience and determination of New Zealand kiwifruit growers has allowed it to find a way forward in the face of the devastation caused by Psa.

 

ENDS

For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:

Rachel Lynch

Senior Communications Advisor

Email: rachel.lynch@zespri.com

Phone: 027 5091805

 

Please note: Lain Jager and Rachel Lynch are at Mystery Creek today.  Phone coverage is patchy, but ZESPRI will endeavour to answer all requests for comment.


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Strong Results in Tough Year as Psa Recovery Pathway Begins | Media Release | 19 July 2012


ZESPRI’s 2012 Annual Meeting marked record global sales in one of the most difficult years for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry and looked ahead as the industry takes its first significant steps along the Psa recovery pathway.

ZESPRI Chairman John Loughlin said in the 2011/12 season - while the industry was rightly focused on the impact of Psa on orchard survival, incomes and the value of assets - ZESPRI had its hands full selling a record volume crop in a challenging global market.

The New Zealand-grown 2011 crop of 109 million trays was sold against a backdrop of sluggish demand in the key markets of Japan and Europe and in the face of intense competition from Chilean producers in most markets.

“In the face of these challenges, our market teams had to be disciplined to maintain ZESPRI’s premium market position and sell the record crop in an orderly manner. Maintaining this discipline resulted in global revenue increasing by 7.2 percent, or by over $100 million, to $1.62 billion in 2011/12,” Mr Loughlin said.

Mr Loughlin said while the record sales returns were pleasing, ZESPRI would continue to focus on lifting returns to GREEN growers, who continue to be challenged by increasing competition and volatile foreign exchange rates.

ZESPRI CEO Lain Jager said a particular highlight of the 2011/12 season was the performance of markets in Asia, especially Korea, China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
“Each of these markets was characterised by strong growth, both in sales volumes and market returns. These results underline how important growth in Asia and other rapidly developing markets is for the future of the industry,” Mr Jager said.

Mr Jager said developing new and emerging markets was one of four strands to ZESPRI’s long-term growth strategy, the others being health marketing, developing new varieties and supply chain development.

Mr Loughlin said the future for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry was bright. However, there were some critical challenges to surmount in coming months as the industry embarked on the Psa recovery pathway.

The industry is currently undertaking grafting of over 2000 hectares of existing orchard to a newly-commercialised ZESPRI licensed variety known as Gold3. Gold3 has shown greater tolerance to the vine-killing disease Psa, compared to the original ZESPRI GOLD variety known as Hort16A.

“Gold3 is the cornerstone of a potential recovery pathway but the pathway will not be successful without an unrelenting focus on managing orchards to minimise Psa risk. This spring will be a critical period for vines grafted this winter as the Psa-infection risk peaks,” Mr Loughlin said.

Mr Loughlin said the ZESPRI Board was committed to significant ongoing investment to support the long-term success of the recovery pathway.

“Should the recovery pathway be successful, ZESPRI and the wider kiwifruit industry will then face the positive challenge of having to manage rapidly increasing Gold volumes. Our long-term growth strategy is clear and maintaining our focus on that and our response to Psa will cement the future of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry,” Mr Loughlin said.

Outcomes of the meeting included:
  • Two Directors – Antony de Farias and Anthony Marks – retired by normal rotation. Both directors were re-elected uncontested.
  • A third vacant Director position was contested by Nathan Flowerday and Raymond Sharp. Grower shareholders elected Nathan Flowerday to the position.

     

To view full ZESPRI Annual Meeting Results please click here
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Kiwifruit breeder honoured for $3 billion contribution | Media Release | 19 October 2012


The inaugural kiwifruit industry award – the Hayward Medal – was presented last night to a kiwifruit breeder whose work has added around $3 billion to the industry and the New Zealand economy, Russell Lowe from Plant & Food Research. The new award is named after another great horticulturalist and kiwifruit breeder, Hayward Wright, whose innovation and contribution established the industry.  The kiwifruit Industry Advisory Council (IAC) established the Hayward Medal and IAC chairman Bruce Cameron presented Russell with the award at Zespri’s kiwifruit industry conference Momentum, saying his work defined the kiwifruit industry.
 
“He is the man who developed and helped commercialise (the Gold kiwifruit variety) Hort16A, resulting in an economic benefit of over $3 billion to the industry and New Zealand.  Hort16A was the first cultivar to provide a real alternative to the Green variety Hayward and helped cement the world leadership of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.  This cultivar has proven recently challenged in the context of Psa but has been incredibly profitable and established the Gold category for the future.

“Russell’s 41-year career at Plant & Food Research’s Te Puke Research Centre saw him establish the orchard and kiwifruit breeding programme and it is this work, and the body of knowledge he helped create, which now holds our best chance for a breeding solution to Psa,” said Bruce. The strong relationships Russell built with Chinese researchers over many years have resulted in Plant & Food Research building the largest collection of kiwifruit germplasm outside China, which he used to develop the Gold variety, including Gold3 and Gold9, and the red kiwifruit.  His research has also resulted in the Kaimai and Bruno rootstocks.

“The scale of his contribution is enormous but he keeps a low profile and he’s the epitome of selflessness,” explains Bruce.Plant & Food Research Chief Executive Peter Landon-Lane says, "We’re proud of this recognition of Russell. This is a great example of the ongoing partnership between Plant & Food and the kiwifruit sector.

“Russell’s long career and ongoing contribution mirrors our Institute’s belief that we’re long-term partners in a bright future for the kiwifruit industry. Living up to that commitment means delivering a range of research that addresses both immediate industry needs and captures new opportunities for the future."

This is the first Hayward Medal to be awarded.  The selection panel included representation from the IAC, NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc and the post-harvest sector.
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Study: Kiwifruit Recommended to Boost Dietary Vitamin C | Media Release | 5 November 2012


November is 5+ A Day month and scientists believe kiwifruit should be a consumer’s first choice when boosting fresh fruit and vegetable intake.
 

New international research, just published in the Journal of Nutritional Science, shows even a recommended dietary intake of fruits and vegetables can result in vitamin C levels well below optimum, if the foods eaten do not include a high vitamin C source.

 

The report suggests food sources with high vitamin C content, such as kiwifruit, should be the cornerstone of a healthy diet. The research reveals a single kiwifruit each day achieves “healthy” vitamin C levels, while two kiwifruit a day ensure “optimal” vitamin C levels.

 

The key research author, Associate Professor Margreet Vissers of Otago University, says most other fruit and vegetables contain much less vitamin C per serve, whereas one kiwifruit delivers the full Recommended Daily Allowance and will contribute more vitamin C than an orange.There is a critical need for vitamin C in the diet.

 

“Vitamin C is an essential nutrient which is critical for maintaining many aspects of our health and kiwifruit is an outstanding source of dietary vitamin C,” Professor Vissers says.

Kiwifruit is known as one of the most nutritious of all common fruits, combining high levels of vitamin C, fibre, folate and potassium to produce unrivalled nutrient adequacy.

 

Professor Vissers says: “Our study shows, quite simply, that 5+ A Day will not deliver adequate vitamin C unless at least one of those sources is a high-value food like kiwifruit. Therefore, when selecting your 5+ A Day, kiwifruit should be the first fruit on your list”.

 

To interview Associate Professor Margreet Vissers, call  027 228 2164.

To read the report, visit the Journal of Nutritional Science at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=JNS# .
Authors: Carr, A. C., Pullar, J. M., Moran, S., & Vissers, M. C. M. (2012)
Title:  Bioavailability of vitamin C from kiwifruit in non-smoking males: determination of ‘healthy’ and ‘optimal’ intakes.
Reference: 1(e14). doi: 10.1017/jns.2012.15

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Peter McBride announced as Zespri chairman-elect | Media Release | 7 November 2012


The Zespri board has announced its chairman-elect is Peter McBride. Mr McBride will replace current chairman John Loughlin when he steps down from the board early next year. Mr McBride is one of five grower-directors on Zespri’s eight-member board.  He has been a Zespri director since 2002 and deputy chairman of the board since 2008.


Mr McBride has been a kiwifruit grower since 1989 and he and his family have invested in, and been committed to, the growth of the kiwifruit industry through their orchard holdings since 1979. Beyond the kiwifruit industry, his career has also involved agribusiness development and management of apple and dairying enterprises. Mr McBride is also the current chairman of Kiwifruit Vine Health, the pan-industry body established to manage the response to the kiwifruit vine-killing disease Psa-V.*


“The kiwifruit industry, with Zespri as its marketer, is one I have an enormous passion for.  It is New Zealand’s largest horticultural exporter and Zespri is one of the world’s leading horticultural marketing companies.

 

“While the industry has had a very tough time from Psa – and its impacts will continue to be felt for a number of years yet – I believe we will overcome the disease.  As Zespri chairman, I will be committed to doing all I can to navigate the industry through these current tough times and returning it to its long-term growth path.


“Zespri’s challenge is to return as much money to growers’ pockets as possible, while ensuring the company retains the capability to take advantage of long-term growth opportunities as the industry overcomes Psa,” Mr McBride said.
 
Outgoing chairman John Loughlin said Mr McBride is known for his industry leadership in innovation and plant breeding, as well as his work as a long-serving Zespri director.


“Peter’s knowledge as a grower, his chairmanship of KVH and his business experience makes him the ideal person to lead Zespri through the significant challenge of Psa.


“I know that Peter will serve the industry well during his time as chairman,” Mr Loughlin said. 
 
ENDS


* Mr McBride will stand down from his role as KVH chairman prior to beginning as Zespri chairman.

 

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NZ kiwifruit industry locking up 90,000 tonnes of carbon each year | Media Release | 20 November 2012


The New Zealand kiwifruit industry sequesters around 90,000 tonnes of carbon in soil annually, according to a new report by PlusGroup Research and Plant & Food Research – around one-third more carbon than the same area of adjacent pasture.
 

The project, funded by Zespri International Ltd and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund, measured soil organic carbon in 104 Hayward Green and Hort16A orchards across the kiwifruit-growing regions of New Zealand and estimated the rate at which kiwifruit vines convert atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to soil organic carbon in a process known as carbon sequestration.
 

“We found soil nine metres below a 30-year-old kiwifruit orchard had significantly higher levels of carbon than pasture soil at the same depth,” says Alistair Mowat, Zespri Innovation Leader for Sustainability.  “Essentially, we are growing new soil at depth.”

 

“This has important implications for the industry – global retailers are looking for food suppliers which are more resilient to extreme events like flooding and drought. Soil carbon is a critical factor here, as the carbon content of soils is a clear indicator of soil health.”

 

Increased soil carbon means an increase in the water-holding capacity of the soil, which helps buffer crops against extreme weather events such as heavy rain or drought.  More soil carbon also helps orchards withstand soil loss and improves soil aeration, as well as improving the efficiency of water and nutrient use, leading to lower costs for growers. 

 

“Sequestering carbon from the atmosphere into the soil also helps offset the carbon emissions involved in growing and distributing kiwifruit.  Produce from New Zealand is regarded as ‘clean and green’ and it’s work like this which helps us verify those claims,” says Mr Mowat.

 

Growers could use this understanding of the soil organic carbon profile of their orchards to improve and maintain carbon levels, which would have significant benefits for surrounding land and downstream waterways.  This may mean less nitrogen is applied and less irrigation is needed, as more water is retained in the soil.  This approach to land management would fit well with the findings of the recent report from the Land and Water Forum, to which Zespri contributed.

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Zespri Congratulates Riddet Institute Directors On Winning Prime Minister’s Science Prize | Media Release | 29 November 2012


The awarding of the Prime Minister’s Science Prize to Professors Paul Moughan and Harjinder Singh, co-directors of the Riddet Institute, is deserved recognition for the pair’s world-leading food-science research, according to Zespri General Manager of Innovation Dr David Tanner.

The Prime Minister’s Science Prize is a $500,000 prize given annually to scientists in recognition of a transformative scientific discovery or achievement which has led to an economic, health, social and/or environmental impact in New Zealand or internationally.


Professors Moughan and Singh were awarded the 2012 prize for their world-leading and original research in the area of food protein science, which has led to a number of commercial innovations, patents, revenue and exports for New Zealand.


Dr Tanner said Zespri and the Riddet Institute have a long relationship as part of Zespri’s ongoing programme to understand the significant nutritional benefits of kiwifruit.

“The work Paul, Harjinder and the wider Riddet team have done with Zespri is critical in giving us the scientific basis on which to base our health marketing platform.


“We know that one of the key factors to building loyalty among our consumers is the health benefits of Zespri Kiwifruit.   The ongoing research by Riddet to explore the nutrient profile of kiwifruit allows Zespri to build a credible and detailed platform about the health benefits of our product,” Dr Tanner said.


Riddet’s research has led to greater understanding of the digestive benefits of green kiwifruit, due to the presence of the unique enzyme known as actinidin and has also shown the significant Vitamin C content of kiwifruit, in comparison to other commonly-consumed fruit.

“With consumers increasingly focused on diet and health-related issues, the work done by Riddet in understanding the nutritional benefits of kiwifruit gives Zespri an edge globally and establishes the Zespri brand as one of the leading fruit brands in the world.


“I congratulate Paul, Harjinder and their team on the award and Zespri looks forward to continuing to work with them in the future,” Dr Tanner said.

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Zespri, Sea Invest and Port of Zeebrugge Renew Relationship | Media Release | 30 November 2012


Zespri - the world’s leading kiwifruit marketer - and Belgium’s Port of Zeebrugge, have committed to maintaining Zeebrugge as the gateway to Europe for New Zealand kiwifruit exports.


In an agreement signed today in Auckland, New Zealand,  before HRH Prince Filip of Belgium, the collaboration between the company SEA-invest and Zespri was extended for another five years.  The agreement was first signed in 1984.


HRH Prince Filip is in New Zealand leading a delegation of business people visiting from Belgium.


Under the agreement, SEA-invest puts its infrastructure at the disposal of Zespri for the storage, quality control and packaging of kiwifruit that arrives from New Zealand in Europe via the port of Zeebrugge.


Around 120,000 tonnes of Zespri Kiwifruit is imported through Zeebrugge every year.  From Zeebrugge, it is then distributed to 25 markets across Europe.   


Zespri CEO, Lain Jager, said Europe was Zespri’s largest market and one of its oldest markets, with New Zealand kiwifruit first being exported to Europe in the 1950s.


“Over that time Zespri has built a reputation for delivering the world’s premium quality kiwifruit for European customers to enjoy.  A key part of delivering this is having the Zeebrugge facility to maintain our quality control and meet customer requirements,” Mr Jager said.


Zespri’s General Manager Europe, Bert Barmans, said Zespri’s relationship with SEA-invest was excellent.


“They have worked very closely with us to develop a world-class facility and service to meet our needs since we began our relationship.  I look forward to working with them for another five years to continue to develop the level of quality and service we deliver to our customers,” Mr Barmans said.


Mr Barmans said the agreement secures long-term business certainty for both Zespri and Zeebrugge.

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Two kiwifruit a day for optimal muscle health | Media Release | 4 March 2013


Ground-breaking research from a collection of leading Kiwi scientists has found eating two kiwifruit a day ensures optimal muscle health.


The findings of a study by the University of Otago, Christchurch, have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the world’s most prestigious publication in the field of nutrition science.


New Zealand scientists, led by Professor Margreet Vissers of Otago University’s Centre for Free Radical Research, have used kiwifruit as the vitamin C source in a human clinical research project. Kiwifruit is one of the most nutritious domesticated foods and is particularly high in vitamin C.


The aim of the study was to understand the critical role of vitamin C in the human body and to determine the best way to obtain this from the diet. The finding around muscle health is one aspect of this larger project.


The latest work has found that skeletal muscle is the body’s most labile, and possibly the largest, store of vitamin C, and that muscle levels most accurately reflect vitamin C intake. To reach the optimal vitamin C levels in muscle, which will result in good energy and vitality, dietary intake should also be optimal.  If intake drops, then so will muscle levels, as vitamin C cannot be stored for use later.


Vissers says while most people associate a lack of vitamin C with scurvy, this condition reflects extreme deprivation and there are a host of illnesses and conditions which can befall the human body if vitamin C is continually below optimal levels.


Late in 2012, Vissers urged consumers to ensure a kiwifruit was part of their 5+a day fruit and vegetable allowance.


“Not all fruit are created equal, and, surprisingly, most fruit contain only one tenth of a healthy daily vitamin C intake per serve,” Vissers says. “However, we have shown that the addition of two kiwifruit a day will deliver optimal vitamin C and meet your daily recommended dose of this important vitamin, as well as delivering other vital nutrients.”


For this reason, fresh fruit is considered to be far more beneficial than a supplement.


Zespri technical health advisor Lynley Drummond says these results further build the growing body of evidence for the role of kiwifruit in the diet to maintain optimal health, performance and vitality. 

 

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New research highlights kiwifruit’s nutritional benefits | Media Release | 14 May 2013


Kiwifruit is a nutritional powerhouse; its unassuming skin encases high levels of the key nutrients associated with optimal health.


The secret of the kiwifruit’s powerful nutrient density has been unlocked through a body of first-class research which has now been brought together in an impressive reference tool for the scientific and academic communities.


Advances in Food and Nutrition Research – Nutritional Benefits of Kiwifruit, published this month by Elsevier in association with The Riddet Institute, is a validation of the excellence achieved in the research of kiwifruit.


It brings together a prestigious collection of scientists from multiple research centres, including Lincoln and Massey Universities, The Riddet Institute, Otago Medical School and Zespri International Ltd’s health science advisor Lynley Drummond.


As well as these pre-eminent New Zealand food scientists, contributing writers hail from as far afield as the University of Oslo in Norway and the Medical University of Vienna in Austria.


Seven chapters of the book relate to the study of kiwifruit’s complementary role in digestive health – building on what generations of Kiwis have long known about the benefits of regular kiwifruit in the diet. There is also a strong focus on the significant nutritional value of vitamin C and its role in assisting iron uptake and maintaining optimal health. Kiwifruit is known to be high in vitamin C, outperforming all other commonly-available fruits.


In 2011/12, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry produced around 100 million trays of kiwifruit and reached $1.6 billion in global sales revenue – returning around $1 billion to New Zealand kiwifruit growers. There are around 2,700 growers in New Zealand and the industry is estimated to employ over 18,000 people at the height of the packing season (autumn).


Drummond says it is critical any modern food manufacturer backs up claims about the nutritional value of its product with robust science.


“The kiwifruit book collates the best of the body of world-leading research around kiwifruit, firmly establishing that the kiwifruit is a true nutritional powerhouse which can boost vitamin C intake, aid digestion and even lift mood.”


Zespri General Manager Marketing Carol Ward, who co-authors the book’s foreword, says research has shown an appreciation of the health benefits of kiwifruit is bettered only by taste and consistency as a driver for purchase and consumption.


“Combining the health and nutrition benefits of kiwifruit with its great taste, good storage properties, unique flavours and colours, the future for the kiwifruit category can been seen as very bright indeed."

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Record returns delivered to New Zealand kiwifruit growers in the shadow of Psa | Media Release | 28 May 2013


Zespri’s annual results for 2012/13 show the highest-ever average Orchard Gate Return (OGR) returns of $51,153 delivered to New Zealand kiwifruit growers. However, the record result comes as the impact of Psa on individual orchards continues to be felt across the industry.


A highlight of the year’s returns was the performance of the Zespri Green category, which accounts for around 70 percent of Zespri’s exported volume.  Average per-tray Green returns increased by 21 percent from 2011/12 to $4.62, their highest level since 2003/04.  This strong result flowed through to Zespri’s highest-ever average returns per hectare for Green growers of $37,959.


Zespri chairman Peter McBride said the record Green OGR results were a consequence of a strong focus by Zespri on lifting Green profitability in recent years, combined with improving performance both at orchard and post-harvest levels. 


“This has been a team effort and is particularly pleasing in the context of deteriorating foreign exchange rates in Zespri’s key markets,” Mr McBride said.


“Strong underlying demand created by over a decade of investment in the Zespri brand has delivered a substantial competitive advantage and premium to New Zealand growers, which – in turn – earned $1.10 billion in export earnings for the New Zealand economy.


“Delivering the highest Green per-tray OGR for ten years is particularly impressive, considering the operating environment in 2003 was considerably more favourable than today, in terms of foreign exchange rates and a much smaller volume – 49.9 million trays in 2003/04, as compared to 71.4 million trays last financial year,” said Mr McBride.


More than half of Zespri-supplying growers now hold licences to grow Zespri Licenced Varieties, diversifying the industry from its traditional Hayward (Green) focus to a broader product portfolio.


Zespri Gold returns per hectare for 2012/13 were $101,973, up 12 percent from the previous year’s return of $90,911.  Organic Green returns per hectare were $34,846, down 2 percent from $35,527 in 2011/12, while the first year of recorded Green14 returns were $18,916 per hectare.


Mr McBride also welcomed an outstanding performance in the China market, with volumes sold up 9 percent to 10.04 million trays and market returns up 21 percent compared with 2011/12, to $117.3 million, or 11 percent of Zespri’s total market returns.


“It is well known that we have been dealing with some challenging issues in China, including transitioning to a new management team and improving our business practices – but we have been determined to make that transition without disrupting the business. This result suggests our management, together with our new import partners, are achieving both our change management and sales objectives.”


Other highlights of the 2012/13 annual results include:

  • Zespri Kiwifruit continued to attract a significant premium over competition in the market, due to the long-term investment in the Zespri brand.
  • Excellent quality fruit drove very strong repeat purchases by consumers.
  • Around half the new SunGold (Gold3) crop was sold in Europe with an excellent response from consumers and customers.


“The high New Zealand dollar continues to cause a significant impact on our business – costing each grower on average 43 cents per tray this financial year relative to the previous year – and it’s unlikely that short-term relief is in sight,” Zespri Chief Executive Lain Jager said.


“The cohesion of our integrated industry structure has enabled Zespri’s three-year hedging policy, which has delivered a direct benefit to growers of $73.2 million in the 2012/13 season,” Mr Jager said.


Due to seasonal and Psa impacts, the volume of Zespri Kiwifruit sold fell by 5 percent in 2012/13 to a total volume of 110.1 million trays, with New Zealand-grown supply at 101.3 million trays and Zespri global supply at 8.8 million trays.  Global kiwifruit sales revenue decreased by 4 percent to $1.56 billion from $1.62 billion in 2011/12. 


New Zealand-grown fruit and service payments (including the loyalty premium) decreased by 2 percent from $980.4 million in 2011/12 to $959.1 million.


“The impact of Psa has significantly impacted on Gold volume.  Gold sales were down 16 percent in 2012/13 to 24.6 million trays, from 29.1 million trays the previous year.  This impact will be even more pronounced in 2013/14, with Gold volumes down to around 13 million trays for the year.  We expect  Gold volumes will begin to recover after the 2013 season with around 1,860 hectares of the Psa-sensitive Hort16A canopy grafted over to the more Psa-tolerant Gold3 in 2012/13, and around 2,320 Gold3 hectares in total around the country.


“Growers have taken very determined actions to recover from the impact of Psa by grafting across to Gold3 and other more Psa-tolerant varieties and changing their management practices to cope with the disease. 


“While we have some confidence that we are making good progress to recover from the disease, biological systems are complex and we need to get through the coming winter and spring periods in good order and see the new Gold volumes materialise next season, before we can really say the Psa recovery pathway has been a success,” Mr Jager said.


Corporate result

Zespri’s net profit after tax for the year was $7.6 million, compared to $20.5 million in 2011/12.  When adjusting for the impacts of funding for Psa, the like-for-like comparison sees profit reduced from $16.4 million to $10.7 million. These results also include the full provision for the court-imposed penalties and fine in respect to the China Customs investigation. 

The Board has announced an intention to declare a final dividend of 1 cent per share to take full-year dividends paid to 5 cents per share.


2013/14 indicative returns (per tray)

Indicative returns

 

  • Foreign exchange (FX) rates will continue to affect returns across all pools.
  • The reduction in base packing costs across the post-harvest sector will continue to contribute to an increase in return for all pools.
  • The smaller profile of Green fruit will challenge Green returns.
  • The significant drop in Gold volume underlines a strong return, despite the negative FX impact.
  • Green14 projected to have a small volume increase on 2012, with Japan increasing its volume from last season.
  • The organic category will continue to focus on the key markets of North America, Europe and Japan.
     
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Vintage year for Zespri Kiwifruit | Media Release | 10 June 2013


The 2013 New Zealand kiwifruit season has already set records for the best-tasting Zespri Kiwifruit ever.


With harvest nearly completed, on-orchard sampling has confirmed what Zespri consumers have been saying – that this year is a vintage taste year for Zespri Kiwifruit.


Carol Ward, Zespri General Manager Marketing, says every block of every Zespri-supplying orchard is tested for levels of dry matter before harvest, with dry matter corresponding to sweetness in ripe fruit. 


“We’re seeing the highest-ever levels of dry matter for all categories of Zespri Kiwifruit, which means a vintage year for fantastic-tasting fruit.  Dry matter is up substantially in all our varieties– so the fruit is tasting great.


“These record levels of dry matter are consistent across the industry, which means the overwhelming majority of Zespri Kiwifruit fall into the highest taste category. 


“Our offshore marketing teams are telling us that this is driving very strong repeat purchasing by consumers.  Consumer research has confirmed that the higher levels of dry matter convert to sugars in the fruit and this is proven to increase both consumers’ enjoyment of the fruit and their intention to purchase again,” says Carol.


The record sunshine levels in New Zealand this summer have contributed to this record-tasting vintage crop.  Most of Zespri’s New Zealand kiwifruit is grown in the Bay of Plenty region, which has had the highest sunlight levels in January, February and March this year since records began on modern equipment in 1992.  This corresponded to the lowest rainfall levels on record,
which has resulted in slightly smaller but great-tasting kiwifruit.


“Our marketing teams have been overwhelmed by the positive reaction from customers and consumers to the fantastic taste across all varieties of Zespri Kiwifruit this season, which has helped kick off a really strong start to the 2013 selling season around the world,” says Carol.
 

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Zespri Gold3 licence allocation significantly oversubscribed | Media Release | 19 June 2013


The Zespri Board has announced that 1,130 hectares of licences for the more Psa-tolerant gold kiwifruit cultivar Gold3 will be allocated to Zespri growers in 2013, as the next step in the Psa recovery pathway – 288 hectares more than was originally intended for allocation. This includes 688 hectares of new gold licences for Green growers and new developments, as well as 442 hectares of Gold One-for-One licences, where Hort16A growers can transfer to Gold3.
 

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says the significant over-subscription clearly demonstrates the confidence the kiwifruit industry has in the recently-licensed gold cultivar, its performance to date in the Psa environment and growers increasingly looking to diversify their orchard portfolios.
 

"Following this licensing round, around 60 percent of New Zealand kiwifruit growers will grow at least one Zespri licensed variety, showing the continued transformation of the industry from its historical reliance on Hayward to increasing diversification of cultivars at orchard level," Mr McBride said.
 

"We think it is important to allow growers the opportunity to diversify into Gold, but we also need to take the total supply picture into account. Our intention has been to build Gold supply towards 60 million trays and this year’s allocation almost gets us there.

"This means we will probably need to reduce next year’s fixed bid area and change the allocation rules so growers who have not had the opportunity to participate in the fixed bid process are preferred over other bidders for next year’s licensing round.


"In the meantime, Zespri will also modify the grafting restrictions and allow growers to delay grafting this year if they prefer, so we have a more phased increase in future volumes. Growers who elect to defer grafting until after 2014 will also be able to defer their licence payments for an additional year."


Zespri senior management will review their medium- and long-term planning in light of this year's allocation and will present this work to the Board to determine future allocation plans.


Mr McBride said the Board and Executive expect to be in a position to discuss the situation with growers through the August grower meetings.


This licence allocation builds on last year’s release of 2,352 hectares, bringing the total amount of Gold3 licensed hectares in New Zealand to 3,972. The Gold3 recovery pathway aims to rebuild the Gold category and grow Gold volumes beyond pre-Psa levels.


"Zespri is building up Gold volumes in response to the medium and long-term demand we see from emerging markets," Mr McBride said.


Gold3 is a kiwifruit variety commercialised in 2010 by Zespri after 10 years of development and is marketed internationally under the name SunGold. It was selected from the extensive Zespri and Plant & Food Research new variety programme for its qualities of high orchard yields, handling characteristics, storage and positive appeal to consumers determined through in-market sensory work over consecutive seasons.


Subsequent to its commercial release, Gold3 has, to date, shown a greater level of tolerance to Psa than the original Zespri Gold variety, Hort16A. This level of Psa tolerance combined with Gold3’s


commercial qualities has made it the cornerstone of the recovery pathway from Psa and this year Gold3 comprises around 20 percent of Zespri’s total Gold volume.

"This spring is a critical period for us to understand how well Gold3 can produce in a Psa environment and while it is clear growing in the Psa environment will be challenging, the demand for Gold3 licences this year is testimony to an emerging confidence by growers in the variety," Mr McBride said.


There are currently no Psa-resistant kiwifruit varieties and the industry continues to rely on proactive orchard management and scientific innovation to find new ways of growing productively in a Psa environment.


"It’s important to note that it is only thanks to the unified structure of the kiwifruit industry and the resilience of its growers that we’ve been able to make this pace of progress," Mr McBride said.
 

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Zespri welcomes closer NZ-Chinese-Taipei Economic Agreement | Media Release | 11 July 2013


Zespri International Ltd welcomes the announcement of the NZ-Chinese-Taipei Economic Cooperation Agreement which was signed in Wellington this afternoon.
 

“Taiwan is a significant market for Zespri. Last year it was our fifth-largest market with sales of over $100 million,” Zespri Chief Executive, Lain Jager said.
 

“Trade Minister Tim Groser, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Government should be congratulated on achieving this significant outcome. Zespri is a strong supporter of the Government’s trade agenda and this is an important step forward in increasing competitive access to this important Asian market.”
 

“With the existing tariff on New Zealand kiwifruit sitting at 20 percent, the agreement signed today will see the tariff eliminated over a period of three years, to be completely removed by the 2017 season.”

 

“This is a fantastic outcome for the industry and will ensure that Taiwan remains a priority market for Zespri,” Mr Jager said

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Zespri’s 14th Annual Meeting looks forward after two tough years | Media Release | 25 July 2013


The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is beginning to look forward with a sense of cautious optimism after two tough years of having to learn how to manage the bacterial disease Psa, Zespri chairman Peter McBride says.

Mr McBride was talking after the 2013 Zespri Annual Meeting, held in Tauranga, today, which was attended by more than 300 grower-shareholders.

In addressing the meeting, Mr McBride said while the industry’s path out of Psa remained uncertain, it had made tremendous progress since 2010, when the disease was first confirmed in New Zealand.

“We have come a long way, learnt a lot and taken some really positive steps to returning the industry to growth again. This spring will be a critical time in understanding how well we are doing, which is why we say there is cautious optimism in the industry rather than stating categorically that we are on the path to recovery,” Mr McBride said.

Mr McBride told grower-shareholders that 2012/13 delivered strong results.
“We had the highest Green returns since 2003, record Gold returns and the highest Organic returns since 2008.”

He said the strong results are due to Zespri’s commitment to a long-term strategy to build Green returns and improvements in supply chain performance right across the industry.

These strong returns were likely to continue into this season, based on season sales to date.
“Fruit markets are strong and we are having a vintage-taste season following the hot dry summer, which means demand is strong across our markets” Mr McBride said.

To view the full Zespri Annual Meeting media release please click here and to download full Zespri Annual Meeting voting results please click here.
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Positive start to season for Zespri SunGold | Media Release | 27 August 2013


Zespri’s recently-commercialised gold kiwifruit variety SunGold is enjoying solid sales in 2013 and a great reception from consumers around the world.

Zespri President of Sales and Marketing Dan Mathieson gave growers an update from the markets on a recent visit to New Zealand and spoke about the growing level of confidence Zespri’s customers have in SunGold (also known as Gold3 in New Zealand).

“We’ve had an overall positive response to this juicy new variety and its refreshing sweet/sour taste balance in Japan, the rest of Asia, Europe and North America. With an increased volume, we’re now able to transition from Hort16A (Gold) to SunGold in more key markets and sales are going well,” says Dan.

With volumes expected to reach 50 million by 2018, Zespri is looking to broaden the market mix for SunGold and promotions are underway in Asia and Europe and developing markets. Overall Zespri gold volumes are down this year due to the changeover from Gold to SunGold and the effects of Psa. Zespri has allocated fruit across markets to create a platform on which to build when volumes recover from 2014 onwards.

The majority of this year’s SunGold crop was sold in Japan – an important and long standing market for Zespri Gold – with significant allocations also going to Korea and China.

“Work is ongoing to educate Zespri’s customers – our distributors, wholesalers and retailers – and the consumers who buy Zespri Kiwifruit about this great new gold variety. Zespri SunGold has a different shape and taste profile to our original Zespri Gold and customers are recognising that this is a another quality product from Zespri.

“We’ve had a favourable response to date and the conversations with our customers and consumers are ongoing to gain full acceptance of this exciting new variety. We’re working hard to ensure consistency of taste across grower lines for next season,” says Dan.

“New products are always challenging but we have confidence in the market appeal and supply chain performance of SunGold. The fruit quality has been really good this year and if we continue to get it right, we have every faith in the success of this variety.

“We’re continuing our unrelenting focus on high taste and premium quality to ensure SunGold – like all Zespri Kiwifruit – stands out in the marketplace as a premium product and continues to bring in top returns for Zespri growers,” says Dan.

Ten years in development, SunGold has a beautiful consistent shape and ranked highly in sensory testing around the world with appeal to fans of both Gold and Green. Its on-orchard disease tolerance positions SunGold as a natural replacement for the Zespri Gold variety.
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Zespri wins at Asia Fruit Awards | Media Release | 5 September 2013


Zespri, the world’s premium kiwifruit marketer, has been recognised for the quality of its marketing programmes across Asia at the inaugural Asia Fruit Awards presented in Hong Kong last night.
 

Zespri’s President of Global Sales and Marketing Dan Mathieson was presented with the Marketing Campaign of the Year award at the Asia Fruit Awards, which were presented by Asiafruit Magazine and Asia Fruit Logistica as part of the annual Asia Fruit Logistica & Asiafruit Congress event.


Asia Fruit Logistica is the leading trade exhibition for Asian fresh produce business and is attended by around 6,000 top-level buyers and trade visitors from over 60 countries.

The Asia region accounts for around 60 percent of Zespri’s revenue and is home to Zespri’s fastest-growing markets of China and Southeast Asia, as well as Zespri’s important and long-standing market, Japan.


In presenting the award, Asia Fruit Logistica and Asiafruit Magazine said:

“Zespri was chosen for its success in building its brand profile and loyalty among customers and consumers throughout Asia.


“With core messages centering on the quality, taste and nutritional benefits of its kiwifruit, the company was recognised for adapting those messages to diverse markets and conveying them effectively to consumers via a range of media and in fun ways. Its use of social media and school education programmes to engage consumers in China was also singled out as an example of its innovative activities.”


Mr Mathieson said receiving the award was a great recognition of Zespri’s innovative and high-profile marketing campaigns across its markets in Asia.


“The Zespri brand is one of the few truly global fruit brands.  The value of our brand comes from a combination of our growers’ commitment to quality and our ability to engage with our customers and consumers across Asia and tell them the story behind our fantastic products.


“Being able to connect with customers and consumers in this vital market is critical to Zespri’s long-term growth, as the Asia region’s economic growth continues.”


Mr Mathieson said he was immensely proud of Zespri’s Asia-based marketing teams and their work in cementing the Zespri brand in Asia.


“Asia is a demanding place to get your product recognised and build consumer loyalty, particularly when you are operating in the hugely competitive and crowded fresh produce space.


“While each market in Asia needs its own unique approach in terms of how best to connect with consumers, our marketing is underlined by the key foundations of delivering consistent taste and quality, and promoting the nutritional values of Zespri Kiwifruit,” Mr Mathieson said.

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John Palmer awarded 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal | Media Release | 22 November 2013


Former chairman of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board, John Palmer, was last night awarded the 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal for his tireless efforts to bring the kiwifruit industry through the fiscal crisis in the early 1990’s.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride announced Mr Palmer as this year’s recipient of the kiwifruit industry award at the Hayward Medal Dinner last night, in front of more than 450 people in Mount Maunganui.

“The kiwifruit industry is facing a huge challenge in the form of Psa now but we faced a disaster of equal proportions back in early 1990’s. The financial disaster in 1992 saw the bottom drop out of the market, as prices crashed in an over-supplied European market,” said Mr McBride.

“Industry debt ballooned to more than $100 million, European coolstores were owed millions and there was no bailout from the Government – so growers had to help themselves. Many were bankrupted or had to find other income; around one in four growers were forced off their orchards.

“It was John Palmer, a kiwifruit grower from Nelson and Board member, who stepped up to assume the chairmanship of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board – surely one of the least desirable positions in the country at the time. Seemingly undaunted, John worked day and night throughout the financial crisis, to trade through the 1993 season,” said Mr McBride.

Mr Palmer persisted with packaging partners and they – along with the National Bank – eventually agreed to fund the 1993 season and gave the industry its hope for survival. Thanks to Mr Palmer’s leadership and tireless efforts, the debt was cleared and the industry stabilised two years later.

“John is a brilliant thinker and leader. He showed outstanding leadership when the industry’s future and global credibility was shredded – directly contributing to what became one of the greatest business turn-arounds New Zealand has seen.

“His five years as chairman of the Kiwifruit Marketing Board helped establish our industry for the future,” said Mr McBride.

The Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal was presented by Fresh Carriers at the event last night.


“We at Fresh Carriers are proud to have carried over a quarter of a billion trays of New Zealand kiwifruit on our ships for over the past 28 years. Our ships have a fast and direct service to Japan and other Asian markets such as Korea and China,” said Mr Takeshige, President of Fresh Carriers Co Ltd.


“We are also proud to be associated with Zespri over many years, as one of the most important exporters in New Zealand and have taken great satisfaction in being associated with your dynamic development that has placed your industry as the most successful, forward-thinking, cohesive and admired fruit producing and marketing business worldwide.


“There are many who have contributed to this success in a quiet, passionate and committed manner. Fresh Carriers are delighted and proud to sponsor the Hayward Medal which recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry,” said Mr Takeshige.

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Positive future for kiwifruit industry as 2014 season kicks off | Media Release | 28 March 2014


Kiwifruit growers have taken another step along the recovery pathway from the vine-killing disease Psa, with gold kiwifruit volumes forecast to rise in 2014 after two years of decline, Zespri’s Chief Executive Lain Jager says.

 

The 2014 harvest began in orchards in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Te Puke last week, with the first shipment of Zespri Kiwifruit due to leave the Port of Tauranga on the MV Lapponian Reefer for Japan on Sunday (30 March).

 

Mr Jager said it was forecast the industry would harvest up to 16 million trays of gold kiwifruit – which includes around 9 million trays of Zespri SunGold/Gold3 – and a total crop volume of all Zespri varieties of around 85 million trays of kiwifruit.  The estimated gold volume is up from around 11 million trays harvested last season.

 

“SunGold (Gold3) has been the cornerstone of the industry’s recovery, replacing the more Psa-susceptible Gold (Hort16A) variety, with more than 4,000 hectares now licensed to grow in New Zealand.

 

“While we will never eradicate Psa from New Zealand, the ability of the industry to start rebuilding volumes in such a short time is testament to the innovative and cooperative nature of New Zealand growers and the very strong support we have had from the Government and other industry stakeholders,” Mr Jager said.

 

Mr Jager said that Zespri was well on track to having 50 million trays of SunGold by 2018, with over half of New Zealand growers now growing more than one variety on their orchards. The industry earned around NZ$1 billion in export earnings last year.

 

“Great growing conditions this season have produced good-tasting fruit with a larger size profile than last year, and volumes are increasing around three- to four-fold for the new gold cultivar SunGold/Gold3, with strong demand from customers,” Mr Jager said.

 

Mr Jager says early season demand for Zespri Kiwifruit in Japan, which is Zespri’s largest country market, was strong, with customers excited about getting the new season’s fruit on to their shelves.

 

Zespri expects to load around 49 chartered refrigerated vessels over the next 32 weeks to exclusively carry the majority of the 2014 New Zealand kiwifruit harvest to key markets in Asia and Europe, including two ships direct to Shanghai.

 

Through having the scale to charter ships to exclusively carry Zespri Kiwifruit, Zespri has greater flexibility and efficiencies in its supply chain to get New Zealand fruit direct to market and in premium condition.  The remainder of the 2014 harvest will be shipped in around 5,000 refrigerated containers.

 

The first ship for Europe to begin the 2014 selling season there is due to depart New Zealand in early April.  Zespri Kiwifruit will be sold in 54 countries around the world this year.
 

 
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