In response to what it described as a "very positive consumer reaction" to its kiwifruit last season, Zespri has announced plans to significantly grow its volumes across North America in 2016.
According to the New Zealand-based company, its growth extends beyond its distribution, with Zespri opening a North American in Orange County, California, to support customers and distributors in the next step in the company’s expansion, which includes hiring more staff within the region.
Glen Arrowsmith, Zespri market manager North America, explained that the first shipments of Zespri Kiwifruit will hit shores in mid-May and consumers will see Zespri in stores across the US and Canada by 1 June, with a large focus on growing SunGold sales.
“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. “Zespri shows steady growth in both Organic Green and Organic SunGold varietals as well.
“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.
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 that will allow consumers to “Taste the Difference” at high-traffic locations in target markets across North America. Zespri will expand its social media efforts with user-generated videos that will be released on Zespri’s YouTube channel.