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Zespri partners with U.S. growers to harvest SunGold Kiwifruit

ORANGE COUNTY, CA – Since the launch of Zespri’s BB #:141270 SunGold Kiwifruit into the American market six years ago, demand for its nutrient-dense, sweet-tropical flavor has made it one of the fastest growing fruits in the fruit bowl.

A combination of creative sampling, a new vertically designed package, and an effective consumer campaign has contributed to a sales increase of over 31 percent in net sales (total U.S.) for this season. To meet growing consumer demand, Zespri is planning for year-round availability and is currently in a test phase to explore the potential for growing Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit within the United States.

“Consumers love the taste of our Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit,” explains Glen Arrowsmith, Zespri’s North America Market Manager. “Our goal is to eventually offer the Zespri eating experience to consumers year round. We are excited to partner with local growers to explore the U.S. opportunity as we test the growing potential and the fruit’s post-harvest and sensory performance. We are at the very early stage but have just harvested the first small trial U.S. crop in October, which was planted in 2018. It’s exciting to see U.S. grown SunGold Kiwi.”

With an eye on the future, Zespri is partnering with a range of local U.S. growers at 10 test sites to better understand local growing conditions on the West Coast. Zespri grows kiwi in many countries and knows the importance of learning about local conditions and adapting growing techniques to achieve the same great taste and quality consumers love and expect. Kiwifruit varieties perform differently in various countries and climates so thorough testing and evaluation is vital before deciding to commercialize plantings. Zespri growers work with third-party auditors to ensure they are growing and harvesting to the Zespri high standards.

The opportunity is for West Coast grown SunGold Kiwifruit to supplement its New Zealand and Italian grown kiwi to provide a 12-month supply. Zespri’s seasonal supply is shipped from New Zealand from May through November.

To extend the season, fruit from Italy is supplied from November through February. However, the Northern Hemisphere volumes are limited and locally grown supply could help meet this demand. Consumers will only need to look for the Zespri label to know they are getting the best tasting kiwifruit.

Zespri is a brand that stands out by being bold, playfully unexpected and real. The brand values are incorporated into their innovation and vision for the future by providing consumers with the best tasting kiwi from orchards around the world. By implementing their world-class growing techniques with collaborative local growing partners, consumers can look forward to having a yearlong supply of delicious SunGold Kiwifruit once testing concludes. Retailers can look forward to the increasing consumer demand and innovative marketing programs developed to drive shoppers to their stores.

Zespri is partnering with local U.S. growers to better understand how Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit performs in the West Coast growing conditions. If trials are successful, consumers can look forward to having a yearlong supply of delicious Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit.

ABOUT ZESPRI GROUP, LTD.

Zespri is one of the world’s most successful horticulture marketing companies and the Zespri brand is recognized as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ over 600 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas. On behalf of our 2,800 growers in New Zealand and 1,500 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 zesprikiwi.com/en-US.