New Zealand kiwifruit giant opens doors to new export alliance

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New Zealand kiwifruit giant opens doors to new export alliance

Two New Zealand companies are set to launch a new export kiwifruit variety in Thailand and Hong Kong supermarkets in early April, which will be the first non-Zespri branded kiwi product exported since 1999.

Zespri and First Fresh NZ are embarking on the consumer trials in Asia with an early variety of gold kiwifruit called ‘First Gold’, with a limited supply of 6,000 tray equivalents to test consumer acceptance and commercial viability.

Zespri CEO Lain Jager said it is ‘critical’ to open the season with a strong product and gain positive feedback from customers to support growth.

“Conversely if the product disappoints early then that will obviously have implications for the broader positioning of the (Zespri) Gold category,” he said.

“The clearly defined opportunity is to capture early market space with New Zealand-grown First Gold and that’s exciting,” he said.

“The trial of this new variety by First Fresh under the collaborative marketingarrangements will represent a new era for the kiwifruit industry and evidence our regulatory arrangements are robust and effective for non-ZESPRI products.”

First Fresh managing director Ian Albers said the collaborative approach to product testing ensures locally-grown products are exported overseas, with benefits flowing back to farmers.

"The markets of Thailand and Hong Kong have been selected because they are emergingmarkets with a strong demand for New Zealand Kiwifruit,” he said.

“Partner retail outlets in Thailand include Tops, Big-C, Tesco Lotus, Makro, Villa and Carrefour, which are all known as innovative marketers, supportive of line extension work.

"In Hong Kong First Gold will be sold in Wellcome Supermarkets.”

The crop is expected to be harvested in March 2011 and will then be shipped to Thailand and Hong Kong.

Photo: Zespri


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