New Zealand kiwifruit exporter Zespri is reportedly pushing ahead with trials of a proposed new green variety, G11, that could complement and eventually replace the group’s existing star performer Hayward, which it markets as Zespri Green.
According to a report published in the New Zealand Herald, the variety – which has a working title of Zespri New Green – is better to eat, ripens easily and has a longer shelf-life: attributes that could potentially help the marketer to grow an already sizeable business.
Last season, Zespri sold almost 81m trays of New Zealand-grown Hayward worth around NZ$1bn in sales worldwide, but the company continues to invest in the development of alternative varieties that might one day take the place of its existing commercial products – as occurred when its previous yellow-fleshed kiwifruit Hort16A (known as Zespri Gold) fell prey to a bacterial disease called Psa and was rapidly substituted by the more Psa-resistant Zespri SunGold.
As revealed by the Herald, Zespri has been working in partnership with science company Plant & Food Research and market research specialist Forward to poll consumers in Germany, Spain, China and Japan about New Green, which has been in the pre-commercial trial phase for five years.
"We've been sitting down with the customers giving them this new kiwifruit and the traditional Hayward, then seeing how they compare and following it up with a questionnaire," commented Plant & Food scientist Elizabeth Popowski, who was in Tokyo to see some of the survey work first-hand.
This article was updated to correct the name of the new variety's original name, which is G11 not G14.