NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Oct. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Zespri, the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit, today announces that it is extending the availability of Zespri SunGold and Green Kiwifruit through the spring for the first time ever. Zespri is rapidly expanding its presence in North America in reaction to strong consumer demand, driven by Zespri's consistent quality and great taste as well as by Zespri's SunGold varietal.
Zespri's global marketing strategy is to keep demand ahead of supply. North America is one of Zespri's top strategic markets, and North American sales as a percentage of global sales this year are expected to be around 5%. Base volume grew by 25% in 2016, and Zespri has put in place plans to grow beyond that in 2017. Extending the season well into spring 2017 will help achieve this growth. Previously, the market received fruit starting in May, lasting until mid-November. The extended season is particularly exciting as it will allow for new retail promotions and premium quality kiwifruit meeting Zespri's taste standards to be available during a season it never has before: winter.
"We are incredibly excited about the growth we've seen in North America this year as more consumers are introduced to the superior eating experience of Zespri kiwifruit," said Glen Arrowsmith, Zespri market manager, North America. "Extending the availability of SunGold and Green Kiwifruit into the winter and through the spring is testament to our steadfast commitment to providing premium quality kiwifruit to this important market."
Zespri is confident in the potential for SunGold in the North American market, which has had a great consumer reception. Zespri SunGold is a natural cross between gold varieties of kiwifruit and has a smooth, hairless skin, a juicy yellow flesh and a tropical-sweet taste. Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit is one of the fastest growing new fruits globally, with sales expanding rapidly in the U.S. and Canada, and strong growth is projected over the next five years. Zespri also offers Organic SunGold and Green Kiwifruit, and North America receives the second highest amount of volume of Zespri Organic behind Japan.
To support Zespri's unprecedented growth, a North American office opened earlier this year in Orange County, California to support customers and distributors in the next step in the company's expansion, which includes hiring more staff within the region. Key appointments to date include:
- Glen Arrowsmith, market manager – North America
- Susan Noritake, market development manager – North America
- Sarah Deaton, marketing manager – North America
- Peter Hill, operations manager – North America
- Karen Caruso, market development manager – North America
- Ben Hughes, regional market manager – The Americas
To support the growth of the brand, new packaging graphics will differentiate product offerings and create more brand consistency across multiple markets. Based on consumer research and testing, the new design features clean, simple imagery and messaging that highlights Zespri Kiwifruit's freshness and taste. "Cut. Scoop. Enjoy!" and the image of a spoon in the kiwifruit communicates the ease and convenience of eating kiwifruit. The new packaging options include 1lb, 2lb and 3lb clamshells and 1lb grab-n-go bags available for Green, Organic Green, SunGold and Organic SunGold kiwifruit. The new packaging began rolling out throughout the 2016 season with full coverage planned for the 2017 season.
Behind Zespri's growth in North America is Zespri's comprehensive quality system, which ensures Zespri consistently delivers great-tasting fruit and is why the eating experience of Zespri Kiwifruit is superior to other brands. Here's more on the Zespri system:
- Zespri measures taste via dry matter. A higher dry matter – quantified by a measure called brix – means better quality fruit and optimal taste.
- Zespri sets guardrails for the brix for all varietals of their kiwifruit, which growers achieve by complying with Zespri's comprehensive quality system.
- Fruit below the high minimum standards set for the Zespri brand is not shipped, and all Zespri growers are held to the same quality standards with their payments tied to the taste profile of the fruit.
- In 2016, 33% of grower payments for Zespri Green Kiwifruit and 53% of their payments for Zespri SunGold variety were tied to the taste profile of the fruit.
- This is a substantial financial incentive for growers to grow the best-tasting fruit and with a consistently better eating experience for consumers.
- Part of the Zespri system is enlisting third party auditors to assess the optimal time for the fruit to be picked, so consumers can trust that each piece of Zespri kiwifruit tastes the best it possibly can.
The announcement of Zespri's extended season comes ahead of the PMA Fresh Summit Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, which Zespri is exhibiting at for the first time. Many senior executives are attending, and Zespri's presence includes co-hosting the Welcoming Reception as well as a booth that showcases an illustration of Zespri's comprehensive quality system and new packaging. Additionally, Zespri is one of ten finalists in PMA's sensory experience contest, and Toasted Coconut SunGold Kiwifruit Cups will be judged at the conference today by a panel of buyers and industry experts.
Zespri International exports premium kiwifruit and is recognized as one of the world's most successful horticulture marketing companies. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, Zespri is 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employs approximately 400 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The Zespri brand is the global leader in premium quality kiwifruit.
On behalf of 2,500 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, Zespri manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of Zespri Green, Zespri SunGold, and Zespri Organic.
For more information on Zespri North America, please visit www.zesprikiwi.com.
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