At the end of a record-breaking 2016 season, Zespri is continuing to invest in future growth by announcing the release of another 400 hectares of its gold kiwifruit variety SunGold next year.
This follows the Zespri Board releasing an initial 400 hectares of SunGold licence in March and signalling that – dependant on the product’s performance and global demand – 400 more hectares of SunGold licence would also be released each year in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The Board also announced last night that another 400 hectares of SunGold licence will be released in 2020.
Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says the decision reflects the strong confidence of the markets in SunGold, with SunGold sales expected to hit nearly $900 million this season.
“We’ve sold around 46 million trays of NZ SunGold this season, up 68 percent on last season, and our customers and consumers continue to tell us is that this is an exceptional product. By continuing to work with growers to produce the high taste fruit the market demands, we’re confident that we can continue grow the category and more than double our total sales to $4.5 billion by 2025.
“We’re continuing to invest strongly in marketing to introduce new consumers to this great product and the Zespri brand, developing new markets in places like India, the US and the Middle East, as well as using SunGold to grow sales in longstanding traditional markets like Europe and Japan.
“If 400 hectares of licence are released each year out to 2020, this will generate an additional $500 million in sales revenue to New Zealand at the current gold return,” says Mr McBride.
Mr McBride explains the Board has continued to take a conservative approach with the licence release by signalling further release of hectares continues to be dependent on how SunGold performs in the seasons ahead.
Zespri Chief Executive Lain Jager says the confidence in the variety came from excellent performance of the product across Zespri’s 56 country markets over the past three seasons.
“Our in-market teams tell us consumers want more SunGold and we’re investing now to make sure we can deliver fruit that tastes great and stores well over a longer selling season,” says Mr Jager.