Zespri - Taken by Liam

While the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has presented its challenges, demand for New Zealand-grown kiwifruit has remained strong in India this season.

The campaign took off slowly because of lockdowns in various states. Sales started to pick up as restrictions gradually eased, building to a peak over August and September.

“So far we have had a very good season for both green and SunGold,” said Sudhir Suri, chairman and joint managing director of New Delhi-headquartered Suri Agro Fresh.

“This year in particular we observed a significantly higher demand of SunGold across all markets that we supply.”

The main challenges Suri Agro Fresh faced over the lockdown related to logistics and keeping fruit moving through the supply chain.

“To counter the situation, we had to make some strategic changes in our ordering, which paid off in the long run,” explained Suri.

“This was supported by Zespri’s pricing strategy, along with our market pricing strategy, which ensured that the product was priced competitively in the market and [consumer] demand was not impacted.”

Suri said the nutritional value of kiwifruit became a key selling point at the height of the pandemic.

“Due to the lockdown, a lot of focus went to consuming fruits with higher Vitamin C content, which was Zespri’s brand messaging for the season as well.”

Suri Agro Fresh ran periodic promotions across major Indian wholesale markets and retail chains over the course of the season, which were supported by Zespri through online and offline marketing activations.

“Zespri kiwifruit has created its own space in the market,” said Suri. “The brand has created significant equity in the minds of Indian customers and consumers. The promise of supplying superior tasting kiwifruit supported with superior quality has definitely fitted in with the Indian mindset.”