New Zealand importers have wasted no time adding Vietnamese dragon fruit to their list of offerings. Market access for the tropical fruit was approved in May, with the first airfreight shipment arriving in late June.
Freshmax NZ welcomed its first consignment of dragon fruit earlier this week, with the company’s import manager Ryan Wilson surprised by the level of consumer interest it has generated.
“There has been good demand nationally, in fact it sold out quicker than anticipated,” Wilson explained. “We are delighted to introduce dragon fruit to our import range to fill a market niche for this specialty, tropical fruit.”
Auckland-based importer-wholesaler Fresh Direct has also begun selling the fruit, after reaching a supply arrangement with Vietnamese exporter Red Dragon. Fresh Direct’s Doug Hamilton expects demand will grow as consumer awareness of the fruit increases.
“Initially we expect the most of the interest to come from consumers with a prior knowledge of the product, particularly within the Asian community,” Hamilton said. “Like any new tropical fruit line, we will run it through a couple of times to see the idiosyncrasies of the market, then figure out how best to position it in terms of promotions and marketing. Over the fullness of time we see it being a valuable addition to our tropical fruit range, with demand likely to come from the wholesale, food service, supermarket and independent retail sectors.”
Vietnamese exporters have also received approval to send the R2E2, Cat Chu and Hoa Loc mango varieties to New Zealand, with irradiation and VHT recognised as acceptable treatments.