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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