Zespri is celebrating its 20th anniversary as New Zealand’s single-desk kiwifruit marketer with a series of events across the coming week.
The company’s chief executive, Lain Jager, said the milestone came at an exciting time for the industry, which aims to more than double sales to NZ$4.5bn a year by 2025.
“Kiwifruit is an important economic contributor to communities in regional New Zealand, with more than NZ$1.14bn returned to New Zealand communities last year alone,” Jager explained.
“More than NZ$21bn of premium kiwifruit has been sold in a Zespri box since 1997; our brand is underpinned by the great work done over many years right across the industry from orchards to packhouses and in the markets.”
The celebrations got underway today (6 March) with the inaugural Women in Kiwifruit event, which brought together females from across the sector to network and hear from high-profile women in kiwifruit and other industries.
On Friday (10 March) industry members will converge on Mt Maunganui for the Momentum conference. Focused on the kiwifruit industry’s future, guest speakers will discuss a range of trade, economic and retail trends, presenting alongside senior Zespri executives. The event will conclude with a celebratory gala dinner and the presentation of the Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal.
Teams from the postharvest sector, growers and Zespri will also face off in an industry challenge, a series of fun events held at Paengaroa School the day before the conference.
Jager said the events would celebrate a turning point for the sector, with the creation of the Zespri brand living up to its aim of differentiating New Zealand fruit on the world stage.
“As an industry, we had a choice – to become a low-cost perishable commodity, like most other fruits, or to market a superior branded product. But a brand on its own is just a picture and letters," Jager explained.
"The success of the Zespri brand is built on the relentless quality systems, which ensure the fruit is delicious and top quality, and the passion and dedication of tens of thousands of people across New Zealand and around the world over decades."