Italian overhang unlikely to impact kiwifruit sales, says Zespri Europe

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Italian overhang unlikely to impact kiwifruit sales, says Zespri Europe

Zespri Europe general manager Bert Barmans says the overhang of late season Italian kiwifruit in the European market is unlikely to be as strong as previously expected.

"I think the Italians have kept sales rates at very acceptable levels and I don't think there will be much effect from them in the market; it's no different to last year," he tells

He says the start of New Zealand's kiwifruit season has been highly anticipated in Europe, with the first shipment having arrived in Zeebrugge, Belgium on May 3. Another shipment was expected to arrive in Tarragona, Spain on Saturday.

He expects the New Zealand green kiwifruit deal will be relatively normal this year, while the production effects of Psa will obviously impact gold volume.

"Obviously people are disappointed that the gold volumes will be down, but that’s the reality, we will have a shorter season and all these people are fresh produce professionals and they know this can happen."

Barmans says it is still too early to see how much shorter the gold season will be, as it will depend on how take-ups from promotions go.

"We’re intensifying advertising with TV in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, and we'll supplement that with outdoor posters as well in the Benelux, and on the promotional side we remain going in the same direction as in previous seasons.

"Our main focus will be on the trade level towards wholesalers, towards food retailers in the Benelux, Spain and Italy, and also a bit more towards super and hypermarkets in Germany.

"As one of the cornerstones of our program we will keep our Zespri roadshow as we believe it is very good to keep face to face contact with our consumers, and as a promotional tool it works very well."

When asked about the competitive impacts of Chile's initiatives towards better quality fruit and improved marketing, Barmans is positive about the potential effects for New Zealand's kiwifruit.

"I think we can all be happy if quality fruit enters the market as the only effect it will have is it will lift up the category, and that is always positive."

On the issue of Psa impacting gold, he says variety G3 - which has been adopted in New Zealand as an alternative to Zespri Gold - will have trial plantings in other countries, particularly Italy and France.

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