Company will embark on new cultivar trial during New Zealand’s winter as it looks to meet rising demand in Asia

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri has told New Zealand media outlet Stuff that it will shortly begin pre-commercial trials of a new red kiwifruit cultivar in the country.

Zespri chair Bruce Cameron was reported as saying that the move was a response to “high demand” for its RubyRed brand in international markets, especially in China, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.

Earlier this year, the company said export sales of the red-fleshed kiwifruit had risen to around 330,000 trays, almost triple the result achieved in its 2022 campaign.

Cameron added that additional plantings could mean the group will supply around 6.9m trays of the fruit by 2027/28.

“The decision to progress another red variety to pre-commercial trials is part of our effort to explore how to extend our supply of Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit throughout the season and return more value to growers,” he told Stuff.

“The new cultivar that will enter pre-commercial trials is expected to have different seasonal timing to Red19, making it a complementary variety.”