Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 5.18.34 pm

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager in Japan this week

Zespri is aiming to grow the value of its Japanese sales by 25 per cent by 2022.

Having increased sales revenue in the Asian nation by 30 per cent over the past two seasons, Zespri chief executive Lain Jager said the kiwifruit marketer was well positioned to achieve its ambitious five year goal, despite a challenging landscape for fruit traders.

'Japan sales earned around NZ$500m last season and accounted for 16 per cent of our global sales,” Jager explained.

“This is all the more remarkable as overall fruit sales in Japan declined by almost 10 per cent over the past decade, against the backdrop of an economy with an ageing population and changing consumer behavior, with a growing preference for more convenient processed products.”

Jager traveled to Japan this week as part of a trade mission being led by New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English.

The delegation is highlighting the trade benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), following the New Zealand Government’s recent decision to ratify the agreement.

“The TPP would eliminate tariffs on kiwifruit exports into all 11 Asia-Pacific nations and the most immediate impact would be in Japan, where kiwifruit growers paid around NZ$25m in tariffs last season,” Jager said.

“If this tariff relief was passed straight through to New Zealand growers, it would equate to savings of around NZ$1,900 for every hectare of kiwifruit grown in New Zealand.”

Zespri is also aiming to drive value growth in Japan through increased marketing activity.

Last year saw Zespri’s Japan marketing become more product-centric, in a bid to make its offering more engaging. This new approach saw Zespri win a top design award, the Good Design Award, for its campaign featuring two cartoon kiwifruit brothers.

“Our team in-market is working hard to introduce more consumers in Japan to the great taste of Zespri kiwifruit through sampling programmes and promotions,” Jager said. “Once that connection is made, the powerful health benefits of our product – high fibre and vitamin C – provide an ongoing communication platform with consumers.”