Italy: Dori kiwifruit presents golden opportunities for Chilean growers 

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Italy: Dori kiwifruit presents golden opportunities for Chilean growers 

A golden yellow-fleshed kiwifruit variety developed in Italy, sold under the Dori brand and grown across continental Europe and Chile, is making steadfast progress.

With initial testing complete and positive feedback from supermarkets coming, higher volumes of the AC1536 variety are planned, especially following production expansion in Chile.

Speaking with, Summerfruit owner Giampaolo Dal Pane explains how Chile is the go-to location to increase Dori kiwifruit production and really make headway in a category that is currently dominated by Zespri.

"The largest operator in the world is Zespri, being a direct competitor in the Southern Hemisphere and an indirect one in the Northern Hemisphere," he says.

"We know that Zespri's power, in addition to the undisputed and recognized management ability, arises out of a dominant position in the market, originating from ad hoc laws obtained in New Zealand, a country where kiwifruit exports to all other countries, with the exception of Australia, can exclusively be made under the trademark Zespri."

Dal Pane says Zespri’s position in the market affords the company more opportunities to commercialize the fruit all over the world, whilst this is not necessarily the case in Italy.

"Consider for example, that Italy is the second producing country in the world for kiwifruit varieties. At present several opportunities have been denied to us in more or less a clear way, such as to start producing in New Zealand and then be allowed to freely sell our product.

"This is why we have chosen Chile as our main partner and as the country where we can expand our development activities.

"We currently have signed agreements for about 400 hectares. We are making every effort to persuade Chilean growers to cooperate and to group themselves with the aim of concentrating the supply which will allow us to have important fruit volumes available soon."

In addition to production expansion in Chile, smaller increases are also planned for Spain and France as a 'testing ground', whilst there are currently around 120 hectares in Italy.

The AC1536 variety was originally developed over many years by the Italian universities of Udine and Bologna and is an early ripening variety that can be stored for long periods of time.

Fruit that was harvested in September 2015 remains in perfect condition, according to Dal Pane.

"In 2016 our storage capacity should be between 150 metric tons and 200(MT), more than five times that in 2017 and more than 20 times more in 2018.

"Last week we had a meeting in Verona where we were able to introduce our producers to some fruits that have been preserved for seven months with a brix of 18 and excellent quality.

"Market trends are towards wellness fruits and kiwifruit has some of highest levels, alongside pomegranates and blueberries. European consumers need new products because for too many years they have only had green kiwifruit."

Initial response from tests has been very positive, especially towards the taste and yellow flesh.

"We think Europe will be a great market. Our tests in supermarkets have told us that there is very high appreciation for the fruit. We also tested it in China where the color and taste was appreciated as well.

"Summerfruit has always encouraged the search of new products and now, with Dori, we are sure to have a perfect product for consumers and all people who work in the production of it." 

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