European marketers of the Nergi kiwiberry brand expect to sell a total of 3m 125g-punnets this season, tripling last year’s record volume.
Sales, which began in early September, will run as normal until the end of October, with Europe absorbing 85 per cent of total volumes.
Exports to Singapore and Canada, which started last year, are growing this season, Nergi marketing coordinator Sofruileg said.
“Nergi’s main market is Europe: Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Scandinavia, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK,” said Sofruileg’s Jean-Pierre Caruel. “Asia and Canada are expanding very well this year.”
European Nergi production, which is centred in France, Italy and Portugal now covers 170ha, and is growing. Nergi volumes are set to increase once again next year, so Sofruileg, on behalf of Nergi suppliers Primland (France), PortPrimland (Portugal), Ortofruit Italia (Italy) and Fruitworld (the Netherlands), is on the look out for customers, as well as new markets.
“We invest a lot of marketing operations on social networks,” explained Caruel. “Our Facebook Nergi page is very active (it has over 25m fans), and our website too. We supply lots of information about our way of producing, lots of advice for new consumers (recipes, places to find the product). We like to share direct with consumers and social networks. We also invest in in-store tasting operations with supermarkets on our main markets.”
Across all its marketing activities, Sofruileg’s core campaign message is the same: Nergi is a berry, not a kiwifruit. “Nergi is a very innovative fruit: you do not need to peel it, it’s a very convenient on-the-go fruit, and it’s a very healthy berry.”
Consumers seem to like what they hear. “We are really busy this year with all the markets to supply,” said Caruel. “Over the coming years, expected volumes will be bigger so we will surely have new opportunities to open new markets.”
In total, around 1.2m punnets (125g) were sold across Europe between September and October 2015, up from 600,000 punnets the prior year, which was only the second year of commercial sales.
“We are in a development stage,” said Caruel. “Our grower base is expanding, and so are our markets.”