The new season's Zespri kiwifruit from New Zealand has hit supermarket shelves in the Gulf state of Qatar, supported by a major campaign to promote the fruit's health properties.
New Zealand growers have stressed the fruit's suitability for the Middle East market due to its benefits in managing diabetes, a common problem in the region.
Hala Barghout, a leading nutritionist and licensed clinical dietician in Dubai, commented: "Everyone knows that citrus fruit contains vitamin C, but a kiwifruit actually contains twice as much vitamin C as an orange of the same size - and three times as much as a lemon."
According to Ben Hughes, marketing manager for Zespri International, the traditional green kiwifruit now on sale in the UAE will be joined in June by the newer gold variety.
"The gold variety has an even sweeter taste and I believe it will be a big hit with people in the UAE," he said.
The timing of the season in the southern hemisphere means that Zespri kiwifruit is usually available in Qatar between May and October, but Hughes said that plans were underway to offer the same quality throughout the year.
"We have been working with selected growers in France and Italy to help them meet the Zespri quality standard," he said. "We hope to bring the first Zespri kiwifruit from Europe to the Middle East by the end of 2012 to provide a year-round supply."