Zespri predicts continuing strong growth

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The kiwifruit industry is expected to remain a cornerstone of the Bay of Plenty economy, with the industry’s outlook positive going into 2019.

A spokesman for key marketing entity Zespri said it was making progress towards its goal of increasing sales to $4.5 billion by 2025.

Chief grower and alliance office David Courtney said that overall this had been another record season for Zespri and the industry in terms of sales volumes.

“That’s come on the back of our focus on sustaining good value across the supply chain from grower to consumer and the excellent work on orchard and through post-harvest to deliver a great crop with good taste,” said Courtney.

“Looking ahead, we’re forecasting continued growth in demand across our key markets,” he said.

Key export market China had continued to perform strongly and Zespri was expecting that to continue as it expanded into Tier Two cities, he said.

Growing global suppply

“In order to meet growing consumer demand we’ll be continuing to work with our global partners to provide Zespri-quality non-New Zealand grown kiwifruit as part of our global supply strategy.

This supply is critical in keeping our brand top of mind for all 12 months of the year, and ensures that consumers can still access premium Zespri quality and tasting kiwifruit in those months when New Zealand supply isn’t available.”

Courtney said the success of the SunGold variety was helping to attract more consumers to the kiwifruit category, which still made up only a small proportion of the global fruit bowl.

“Zespri and the kiwifruit industry are consequently in a strong period of supply growth, working hard to fulfil demand,” he said.

Zespri announced in December the planned release of 700 ha of SunGold licence as well as 50 ha of Organic SunGold during the 2019
season.

The expansion is not just in the Bay of Plenty but in other kiwifruit growing regions, from Kerikeri to Nelson, said Courtney.

“Supply growth gives us an opportunity to serve more consumers than ever before, while sustaining good value across the supply chain from grower to consumer.”

Zespri’s latest December 2018 forecasts include an average Orchard Gate Return for Green of $5.42 per tray, and average per h return of $63,786.

These have decreased slightly (down five cents and $341 per ha respectively) based on an upward revision in estimates for offshore fruit loss and quality claim provisions.

The average return for SunGold and Organic SunGold per tray has increased to $10.46 per tray and $140,195 per ha, reflecting reductions in promotion and freight costs and favourable foreign exchange movements.

Zespri Sweet Green is at $7.16 per tray and $45,855 per ha.

The average Organic Green return is $8.68 per tray with the average per ha return $68,864, up slightly based on firmer pricing in key markets.

– By DAVID PORTER

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