Zespri has announced plans to significantly grow its volume across North America in 2016 in response to what it describes as “very positive consumer reaction” to its kiwifruit last season. The marketer’s plans include the opening of a new office in Orange County, California to support its growth within the region.
The growth is being partly fuelled by the popularity of Zespri SunGold, a natural cross between gold varieties of kiwifruit, that has become one of the fastest growing new fruits globally.
Glen Arrowsmith, Zespri market manager North America, said the first shipments of Zespri kiwifruit were due to arrive in mid-May and will be available in stores across the US and Canada from 1 June.
“US demand for Zespri green kiwifruit also continues to climb as consumers discover the delicious and vastly superior eating experience of Zespri kiwifruit,” said Arrowsmith, adding that sales of organic green and organic SunGold were also developing well.
The marketer said its comprehensive quality system, which is used in every stage of the production process and is the basis for all Zespri kiwifruit growers, was behind the superior eating experience of its fruit.
“We are committed to the North America market as we see a real opportunity for the kiwifruit category to grow as consumers experience premium quality Zespri fruit,” said Arrowsmith. “We're elevating our unrelenting focus on superior taste and eating experience with a robust, innovative marketing plan and re-brand strategy to reach consumers.”
To support the expanded distribution and re-brand, Zespri conducted research in the US around the development of consistent packaging across all platforms.
“The key findings of the research favoured the product image as the main focus and the taste profile message, along with the usage message ‘Cut, Scoop & Enjoy’, to help remind consumers that kiwifruit is an easy-to-eat, delicious and refreshing snack,” Zespri said.
New packaging will roll out through the upcoming season with full coverage planned for the 2017 season.
Additionally, Zespri's integrated PR and marketing campaign will launch across TV, print and digital media to raise awareness of SunGold and educate consumers on how to select and enjoy a ripe Zespri Kiwifruit.
The company is also planning sampling activities at high-traffic locations in target markets across North America, as well as expanding its social media efforts with user-generated videos that will be released on Zespri's YouTube channel.