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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