NZAPI updates export estimates post-harvest due to smaller fruit sizes but notes high quality is driving demand 

Joli Apple Orchard

NZAPI said good summer conditions have resulted in high quality apples this season

New Zealand Apples and Pears (NZAPI) has released its post-harvest crop estimate for the 2024 season forecasting a 11 per cent decrease in TCEs (tray carton equivalents) for export.  

Export TCEs are estimated to be down from 21.2m, as calculated in January 2024, to 18.9m post-harvest due to varying fruit sizes across the growing regions.    

However, fruit flavour profile and storability are among the best the industry has seen in years, thanks to exceptional summer conditions, according to NZAPI. Long hot days, dry conditions and cooler nights have produced apples with delicious eating quality and good colour across most varieties, NZAPI stated in a press release.  

NZAPI chief executive Karen Morrish said New Zealand apples are already proving popular in export markets.  

“While fruit is smaller than we expected across the board, it has been one of the best harvests in several years,” said Morrish.   

“Demand in our key export markets is strong, with fruit of such a high quality that consumers are coming back for more.”   

Smaller fruit sizes can be attributed to the lingering impacts of last year’s Cyclone Gabrielle and spring weather conditions, added Morrish.   

“We have seen smaller fruit produced in each of our growing regions and packing has finished earlier than expected at many packhouses, so fruit could soon be in a shorter supply,” she said.  

“However, the flavour profile of this year’s crop is brilliant and a wonderful reassurance that the trees impacted by last year’s cyclone have come through better than originally expected. The apples that make it to an export carton are not only New Zealand’s best apples, but the best in the world, and this year’s harvest is testament to that fact.”