Zespri International Limited is the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, selling kiwifruit into more than 53 countries and managing 30 percent of the global volume.
In 2015/16 Zespri sold 131 million trays of premium-quality Zespri Kiwifruit. Zespri sets the global benchmark for guaranteed excellence and delicious, nutritious kiwifruit with the Zespri Brand. We work with growers and post-harvest operators to source top-quality Zespri Kiwifruit and supply this kiwifruit through our distribution partners to wholesale markets and retail customers. Zespri’s global headquarters are based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, in the heart of New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit producing region, the Bay of Plenty. Zespri has 17 offices based around the world.
Zespri makes up around one-third of the volume of exported kiwifruit and we have built a strong reputation through six areas:
- Health marketing – marketing the health research we conduct with credible research partners is the fundamental core of our marketing. Research shows consumers who are aware of the health benefits of eating kiwifruit are much more likely to be repeat purchasers.
- Developing products – focusing on innovation to develop new varieties that customers want to buy.
- Innovation – investing over $20 million each year in research by industry and government to support growers to grow a premium, sustainable product.
- Brand awareness – investing heavily in promoting our premium brand through in-market services.
- Taste and consistency – commercial grower incentives and research and grower education programmes to deliver better tasting fruit.
- Supply chain development – constantly refining how we operate to consistently deliver top quality kiwifruit in the most efficient and sustainable way possible.
To be the retail category leader in kiwifruit, Zespri provides unrivalled excellence in:
- brand-based consumer focus
- customer relationships and innovation
- cost-effective sourcing of superior fruit globally.
Zespri aims to create a worldwide, year round supply of kiwifruit. We don’t want Zespri Kiwifruit to be something people only see on supermarket shelves for a few months each year. To do this, we’ve formed partnerships with experienced growers around the world.
The environment is of huge importance to Zespri; we guarantee that Zespri Kiwifruit is grown in a way that has little impact on the environment.
How? We strive to use best practices in all of our processes and we are dedicated to being a sustainable business and market leader. Above all, Zespri’s focus is to satisfy our consumers by offering them the world’s most delicious, nutritious and safest kiwifruit.
Zespri continues to be a leading kiwifruit pioneer. We are owned by more than 1,900 current and past growers, who are as determined as the Zespri Board, Executive Team and staff to keep improving the quality of Zespri Kiwifruit. Zespri’s headquarters are located in Mount Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty, the heart of New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry. Around 500 people work for Zespri International Limited globally. Our entire team champions the Zespri Brand around the world, building mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers and customers.
Our policy is to recruit and retain qualified people who understand local conditions and the markets in which we operate. Zespri aims to build both supplier and customer relationships to help create business growth for everyone in the chain, from orchards to market. Like any good team, all of the players have a common goal – to succeed, and succeed well.
One of Zespri’s most significant achievements has been to find a way to bring you delicious top quality Zespri Kiwifruit all year round by forming partnerships with experienced growers around the world. Zespri’s commitment to providing delicious, nutritious and safe kiwifruit means we also embrace research and development to bring our consumers new and exciting cultivars. Zespri continues to innovate, developing new varieties and continuously improving current varieties. Standing still is simply not an option for Zespri; we are proud of our rich legacy and confident about a positive and dynamic future.
The person responsible for the start of Zespri Kiwifruit however, is Hayward Wright and his exceptional green thumb. In 1928, with the Bay of Plenty’s rich volcanic soils and mild climate, Hayward Wright developed a new variety of kiwifruit and ever since, the “Hayward” variety has been grown and exported all over the world.
The first exports of kiwifruit from New Zealand were in 1952, to England. Though its original name was “Yang Tao” or the “Chinese Gooseberry,” proud Kiwis wanted to name the fruit in recognition of New Zealand’s national symbol – the special brown-feathered Kiwi; thus the origin of the name ‘Kiwifruit’.
In the years following, the industry expanded rapidly with entrepreneurial kiwifruit growers establishing orchards across the Bay of Plenty and in other growing regions of New Zealand. Growers banded together to pack and export their fruit overseas and competed against each other for markets. In the 1970's, the Kiwifruit Marketing Licensing Authority was formed to provide growers with control over their industry structure and regulate the activities of exporters. This structure enabled grade standards to be established and a coordinated approach to marketing undertaken.
In the mid to late 1980’s the New Zealand kiwifruit industry faced a crisis. The rapid expansion of orchards in New Zealand led to large crop volumes, above and beyond that of global demand. The New Zealand dollar was rising and interest rates were high. In the markets, the price of kiwifruit dipped to an all-time low. Growers faced financial hardship and the multiple exporters were competing against each other, driving prices, and grower returns down further.
It was at that point that New Zealand growers took the first step toward establishing an industry structure which would put growers at its heart and ensure they retained control of their destiny. It took a number of steps to establish this goal, with a complete review of the industry undertaken in 1993. With visionary leadership and strategic partnerships, the New Zealand kiwifruit industry set a platform on which to build its future. A market driven strategy was at the forefront of change – building on the reputation of delivering the world’s best kiwifruit.
Following this, Zespri International Limited was formed in 1997 as a global marketing organisation, providing a united grower-owned platform to deliver quality New Zealand-grown kiwifruit to the world. This commitment to grow and sell the best kiwifruit remains unchanged today.
So how is Zespri Kiwifruit grown? New Zealand is a great place to grow kiwifruit because we get lots of sun and lots of rain which makes the soil perfect. It takes about 9 months to grow the perfect kiwifruit!
In Winter, growers cut the vines, and tie them to frames so that when it gets cold...and windy they are protected from getting hurt. This makes sure that the vines are perfect for when spring comes around so that the fruit can start to grow again.
In Spring everything in the kiwifruit orchard starts to wake up and grow...bright green buds start to appear and turn into little white flowers. Bees fly through the orchard pollinating the flowers and these flowers then turn into small kiwifruit.
In Summer growers cut some of the kiwifruit vines so the sun can shine through all the big leaves and help the fruit grow. Growers also take off some smaller kiwifruit so the rest can grow big and tasty.
In Autumn the kiwifruit are fully grown. When growers think the kiwifruit are.just perfect they call up the clever scientist to test if they are. If they are ripe lots of pickers come into the orchard to pick the kiwifruit. The kiwifruit is picked and put into big boxes which are so heavy that they have to be lifted by a forklift!
The forklift puts all the boxes into a truck which delivers the kiwifruit to a packhouse. At the packhouse, a team of busy workers make sure that all the kiwifruit is perfect! They pick out all the bad ones so you don’t have to eat them and whizz bang machines put stickers on all the good ones!
Then they are put into recyclable Zespri® boxes and loaded into trucks. These trucks take the kiwifruit to ships which deliver the fruit all around the world to supermarkets where your Mum or Dad can buy them! Some of the Zespri® Kiwifruit are kept in my really big fridge for later, so we never run out.
Watch this cool movie to see how it happens.