This season’s New Zealand kiwifruit crop is expected to be larger than first anticipated, according to Bert Barmans, general manager of Zespri Europe.
Speaking exclusively to Eurofruit, Barmans indicated the harvested volume would be as high as 75m trays of Green kiwifruit, compared with the 70m figure forecast before the start of the campaign.
Barmans also confirmed that supply of SunGold, the yellow-fleshed variety that has all but taken the place of Zespri Gold (Hort16A) following devastating outbreaks of the bacterial disease Psa in New Zealand and Italy, had brought the company’s offer back up to pre-Psa levels.
Europe is expected to receive around 35m trays of Zespri Green and about 6m trays of SunGold.
“After three years of asking our partners to stick with us while volumes recovered, we are nearly at the same level as we were back in 2011,” he said. “We are very appreciative of our retailer and distributor partners for their patience.”
Despite the setback, Barmans said Zespri had used the intervening period to build new demand for gold kiwifruit – most notably in France.
“Last year we did some great work in France and really put gold-fleshed kiwifruit on the map in a way that hadn’t been done before,” he revealed.
“We had references in all of the major retailers, including the likes of Carrefour, Auchan, Leclerc and so on. What’s more, we promoted it heavily and invested a bit more than in previous years in communications, sampling and other PR activities.”
A full report on this year’s New Zealand kiwifruit campaign appears in the June 2015 issue of Eurofruit.