NZ: Zespri to release additional SunGold licenses

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NZ: Zespri to release additional SunGold licenses

New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri has decided to sell licenses for another 400 hectares of the SunGold variety next year, amid strong performance in international markets. 

This follows the entity releasing 400 hectares of SunGold licence in March and signalling that the same amount would also be released each year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, dependant on the product’s performance and global demand.

Zespri chairman Peter McBride says the decision reflected the strong confidence of the markets in SunGold, with sales expected to hit nearly NZ$900 million this season.

"We’ve sold around 46 million trays of NZ SunGold this season, up 68 percent on last season, and our customers and consumers continue to tell us is that this is an exceptional product," he said.

"By continuing to work with growers to produce the high taste fruit the market demands, we’re confident that we can continue grow the category and more than double our total sales to $4.5 billion by 2025.

"We’re continuing to invest strongly in marketing to introduce new consumers to this great product and the Zespri brand, developing new markets in places like India, the US and the Middle East, as well as using SunGold to grow sales in longstanding traditional markets like Europe and Japan."

If 400 hectares of licenses are released each year out to 2020, this will generate an additional NZ$500 million in sales revenue at the current gold return, McBride said.

McBride explained the company had continued to take a 'conservative approach' with the license release.

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager says the confidence in the variety came from excellent performance of the product across the 56 markets over the past three seasons.

"Our in-market teams tell us consumers want more SunGold and we’re investing now to make sure we can deliver fruit that tastes great and stores well over a longer selling season," Jager said.

Returns from gold varieties fell NZ$0.06 per tray in the October forecast from the prior one to NZ$8.21, the same as last year’s final return, according to local media. 

The bid process will reportedly open in February 2017, close in March, and successful bidders notified by mid-April.

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