Kiwifruit marketer expects to ship 193m trays of New Zealand-grown kiwifruit thanks to improved growing conditions

Zespri has announced its latest forecast for the 2024 New Zealand kiwifruit season with the marketer expecting to ship around 193m trays of kiwifruit to markets around the world.

While still early in the season, Zespri’s latest supply estimate reflects the positive growing conditions seen across New Zealand in recent months. This season’s crop is set to be a significant increase on the 133m New Zealand trays shipped last season and also up on the 175m trays shipped in 2021.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson said the key focus this year was delivering consistently good quality fruit to customers and consumers throughout the season to help maximise the value returned to growers and communities.

“It’s been a far more settled growing environment compared to the last couple of seasons when growers were facing a number of challenges, including the impact of Covid-19, the significant labour shortage in 2022 and the many climatic events that New Zealand experienced in 2023,” he said.

“While it’s still early, the crop is looking excellent and there’s a lot of excitement and optimism in the industry. That excitement is shared by our customers who are keenly anticipating having a lot more kiwifruit to meet the strong demand we’re seeing across our markets.”

Mathieson said managing the increased volume of fruit throughout the supply chain and delivering consistently good quality fruit was the key consideration in the industry’s season planning process.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re striking the right balance of having a good source of early season fruit to capitalise on early season sales opportunities, and having fruit that stores well so that we can have a consistent flow of fruit through the season and minimise late season quality issues,” said Mathieson.

Zespri is closely monitoring the disruption to international shipping to strike this balance. Mathieson said Zespri was not affected by the disruption in the Red Sea, instead shipping via the Panama Canal.

Mathieson said Zespri’s mascots, the Kiwi Brothers, would again be a central piece of this season’s marketing activities to help move fruit quickly.

“Our marketing teams have been working really hard on developing a number of great campaigns based around our award-winning Kiwi Brothers to ensure we’re able to keep our sales rates up throughout the year,” ” Mathieson said.

“After a tough couple of years there’s a lot of excitement about the year ahead and we’re well prepared as we get the season started through harvest over the coming weeks.”