Chile eyes greater kiwifruit exports to U.S. with new ripening program
According to the Chilean Kiwifruit Committee, the last decade has seen a strong focus on the market with exports growing 30% over the period.
The country is now the biggest exporter of kiwifruit to the U.S., according to the committee.
The group's president Carlos Cruzat said Chile was increasing its participation in the market with larger volumes and a marketing window that was no longer limited to the first half of the season.
"We have increased the amount of fruit that is kept in cold or controlled atmosphere to supply North American supermarkets' programs. In addition, we are developing a ripening and conditioning program that will improve the eating experience," he said.
"The Chilean industry has great potential for growth in this market. To date, the biggest limiting factor has been fruit arriving either when it is not correctly matured or not in the optimum conditions to eat."
He added fruit ripeness issues could be fixed with the implementation of industry-wide protocols.
"The protocols we have developed in conjunction with the Universidad Católica de Chile will allow fruit to arrive in better condition, and in packaging suitable for the product to be distributed to homes," he said.
"By doing this, we are sure that we can increase kiwifruit demand and consumption in the U.S."
The Chilean kiwifruit industry is working with trade agency ProChile to carry out programs and workshops for U.S. importers and retailers to promote the use of technology and improve fruit condition.
Looking at the country's other markets, Chilean kiwifruit exports to Europe have remained relatively flat, but new markets have been developed in Asia - most notably China and South Korea. Russia is also a rapidly growing market for the industry.