The first commercial campaign is off to a positive start, with a sales volume of almost 300 tonnes anticipated for 2023/24
Italy’s newest green kiwifruit variety, Dulcis, made its international debut at Fruit Logistica last week. The variety, marketed as the green kiwifruit with all the qualities of yellow kiwifruit, was developed by New Plant in Forlì in collaboration with the Universities of Udine and Bologna and is being grown and marketed worldwide by Alegra, Apofruit Italia and Orogel Fresco.
Initial results for the first Dulcis sales campaign were presented at the fair, together with plans for its commercial roll out.
Mirco Montefiori, chairman of Dulcis Kiwifruit Company, commented: “The high emotional content that Dulcis kiwifruit conveys to consumers reflects the great satisfaction that this novel cultivar, 100 per cent made in Italy, is bringing us at a commercial level.
“The figures emerging from the first trading season are extremely positive, which leads us to be optimistic about the future as well. Dulcis, in other words, is a variety that allows the entire kiwifruit segment to be revitalised and renewed, creating value throughout the supply chain.”
Dulcis is being marketed as a premium green kiwifruit with a unique taste and high brix level. It also has a good tolerance to the Mediterranean climate, which means that it can be grown without the need for costly interventions, such as rainproof netting.
In consumer tests carried out at several Italian large-scale retailers, 95 per cent of respondents said they would buy the variety again. Its sweetness was a decisive factor: more than 50 per cent found it to be sweeter than Hayward, while 45 per cent described the taste as ‘excellent’ and 35 per cent who considered it ‘very good’.
The 2023/24 season marks the first commercial campaign of Dulcis, with 62 per cent of production destined for the Italian market, 14 per cent for the Netherlands, 13 per cent for Germany, 8 per cent for Spain and 3 per cent for Belgium.
“In Italy, where the largest supply is concentrated, the sales trend is proving to be very positive: in the pre-Christmas period, sales rose from 2 to over 10 tonnes in just four weeks,” the company said.
“2024 also got off to a positive start, rising in the first three weeks of the year from 8 to 14 tonnes. In general, sales forecasts for 2023/24 are close to 300 tonnes, but the goal is to reach around 800 as early as 2024/25, and then to increase to 2,400, 5,600 and 9,400 tonnes in the following three marketing seasons.”
At present the variety is mainly grown in Emilia-Romagna and Lazio, but new cultivation areas are also developing in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Basilicata and Calabria. The growth in land coverage has been exponential: in 2020 there were a total of 5ha, and by 2022 acreage had reached 166ha. The goal for 2025 is to reach 500ha.
Production volume increased from 84 tonnes in 2022 to 298 tonnes in 2023. The projection for 2024 is just under 800 tonnes, rising to more than 2,400 tonnes in 2025, 5,600 tonnes in 2026 and 9,400 tonnes in 2027.