Kiwiberry flavor gains favor in two hemispheres

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Kiwiberry flavor gains favor in two hemispheres

After a positive 2015 for European growers of kiwiberries, producers in the fruit's country of origin are gearing up for an early harvest this year.

In a release, Freshmax NZ Ltd - the exclusive holder of the New Zealand kiwiberry license granted by developer Plant & Food Research - said customers were eagerly anticipating the delicious ready-to-eat snack's arrival.

"Due to the warm, dry New Zealand summer crop estimates are extremely favourable, producing fruit with high brix levels and an excellent flavour profile," Freshmax export manager Tracey Burns said in a release.

"We should also see an earlier start to the season this year which is beneficial for our key export markets."

The group said the fruit was highly prized in international markets, and Freshmax was consistently investing in grower programs to build a solid supply program in order to meet demand.

The company highlighted the fruit also had a strong shelf life and excellent storage qualities, ensuring they arrive in export markets in peak quality.

Jean Pierre Caruel of French company Sofruileg's marketing and variety licensing department told sales of European-grown Nergi-branded kiwiberries doubled in 2015.

For the recent marketing season which ran from September to November, sales hit 1.2 million 125g punnets of kiwiberries, compared to 600,000 punnets for the same period in 2014.

Of this volume, 90% was sold in Europe with the rest going to North America and Asia.

"Consumers are particularly fond of this green, naturally sweet berry that can be enjoyed without having to peel it, the flesh of which often resembles that of the green kiwi," Sofruileg said in a release.

"The NERGI® kiwi berry is often the centre of numerous in-store tasting events and 84% of consumers who discover NERGI® for the first time are captivated by its innovative appeal and the tasting quality of the product.

"The NERGI® kiwi berry is a practical and friendly berry to be enjoyed just like blueberries and raspberries."

The group said the fruit was picked by hand in according to the principles of controlled farming in France, Portugal and Italy.

"Encouraged by growing demand, there is currently a boom in the planting of NERGI® orchards," Sofruileg said.

"Forecasts show an expectation of 20 million consumer sales units within the next five years."

Photo: Sofreileg

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