The 2017 New Zealand kiwifruit season is underway with the first ship, the Asian Adonis, set to sail to Shanghai tomorrow with 840,000 trays of premium Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit.
Zespri Chief Operating Officer Simon Limmer explains the New Zealand industry is set for another strong season, with continued growth in SunGold volumes as more vines reach full maturity, and Green volumes down somewhat on last year’s record crop due to weather conditions during the 2016 growing season.
“We’re looking at the second-largest crop in our history and fruit is sizing well on the vines heading into harvest, with good taste levels. The NZ kiwifruit industry is coming together to deliver another great season for our customers – the anniversary of 20 years of delivering premium fruit in a Zespri box around the world.
“Over the long-term, our strong volume growth both here in NZ and offshore will continue as SunGold volumes increase to meet consumer demand around the world,” says Mr Limmer.
Zespri President of Global Sales & Marketing Dan Mathieson says that on the market side, Zespri teams around the world are primed to kick off sales and marketing programmes in the 59 countries where premium Zespri Kiwifruit will be sold this year.
“We plan to increase our total marketing investment again this season to reach out and build stronger connections and relationships with our customers and consumers. This is particularly important as we continue to expand our presence into developing markets, introducing more consumers to the great taste and superior quality of our fruit.
“This investment is also vital to achieving the industry’s goal of increasing overall kiwifruit consumption around the world from just a fraction of a percent of the total fruit bowl,” says Mr Mathieson.
The first of the 46 reefer vessels (refrigerated charter ships) from New Zealand will leave for China this year in a break from tradition: the first ship for many years has been to Japan.
“This marks the increasing importance of the China market for the industry, with China and Japan now our two largest markets in the world,” says Mr Mathieson.
In another first for the industry, almost all the North Europe charters will be replaced with Seatrade’s new Colour Class ships this season, specialised reefer container vessels which provide more flexibility and improved performance. In addition to the reefer vessels, around 14,000 FEU containers are planned to be shipped for the 2017 season.