Kiwifruit marketer holds official opening of Centre of Sales and Marketing Excellence following Covid delays

Zespri has officially opened its new Centre of Sales and Marketing Excellence in Singapore, following a recent blessing ceremony.

Zespri Singapore office opening

Zespri Singapore office opening

The Centre was first established in 2015 and acts as a hub connecting Zespri’s markets together, as well as connecting all markets with growers in New Zealand and offshore. A new office was completed in late 2020 but Covid-19 and the associated travel restrictions in recent years delayed an official opening until now.

New Zealand high commissioner to Singapore, her excellency Gabrielle Rush and New Zealand trade commissioner Maggie Christie attended the opening, along with around 60 growers from New Zealand as part of the first industry tour since Covid-19 which will also visit orchards, packhouses and key markets in Europe.

Tauranga Moana Kaumatua Turi Ngatai blessed the office and its traditional Māori carving which symbolises the connection to Zespri’s roots in the Bay of Plenty where the majority of Zespri kiwifruit is grown. The office features many collaboration spaces and a base camp area where the New Zealand kiwifruit industry’s history is on display, and with a mural demonstrating the strong connection between New Zealand and Singapore where Zespri has been selling kiwifruit for more than 30 years.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson said the Singapore hub plays a critical role in Zespri’s ability to return value back to growers and communities.

“Our Centre of Sales and Marketing Excellence is the gateway to all of our major markets and the heartbeat of our sales and marketing strategy, supporting our 17 offices around the world and it was brilliant we could have our growers join us for this important event after the extended Covid-enforced delay,” said Mathieson.

“The hub has been pivotal in the ongoing strengthening of our brand, including the global roll-out of our successful KiwiBrothers campaigns, which has helped us grow demand and attract new consumers, and we’re looking forward to this continuing in the years ahead.

Mathieson said Zespri had been able to recruit a number of sales and marketing experts from the FMCG sector as it continued to invest in strengthening the way it sells kiwifruit, and the Zespri brand.

“The hub and the people we’ve been able to attract have been pivotal in accelerating our growth over the past eight years, including changing the way we partner with our distributors and retailers, which has enabled us to return more value back to our industry,” said Mathieson.

“Our sales and marketing programmes have been a key driver of value creation in the category which has seen Zespri’s total global kiwifruit sales increase from NZ$1.9bn in 2015/16 to NZ$3.92bn last year.”

Māori Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (MKGI) grower Geoff Rolleston attended the opening and said the event reinforced and celebrated the important cultural connections between Māori, New Zealand growers and the Zespri teams which are truly multicultural.

“The sharing of culture strengthens the partnerships and connection and it’s these long term relationships that underpin the success of the industry and the connection to people and communities,” said Rolleston.

Bay of Plenty kiwifruit grower Ray Sharp said it’s important for growers to see the work that takes place across the markets to bring kiwifruit and the Zespri brand to life for consumers and customers and the Centre of Sales and Marketing Excellence now plays a leading role with some very talented people.

Mathieson said with strong volumes expected in the next few years following a challenging couple of seasons, Zespri was looking forward to driving more innovative campaigns to market more super-healthy, great-tasting kiwifruit to people around the world and delivering sustainable value back to its growers.