The company’s general manager Alessandro Fornari told Fresh Fruit Portal that Oriental Red kiwifruit has already been introduced into Europe.
“We already have much more demand than supply capability,” he said.
“Oriental Red is a unique tasting experience, with a great exotic flavor and a smooth pulp, so it will satisfy the expectations of the more demanding consumers.”
According to Fornari, the company started planting the red and yellow fleshed variety a few years ago, with 60 hectares of orchards now established in Italy.
“The variety produces some fruit only two years after planting, so we expect to have a continuous increase of volumes – the 2019 crop being the very first year of commercially significant volumes,” said Fornari.
Oriental Red orchards are concentrated in Italy, but Fornari expects other planting areas – particularly in South America – to open up next year as well.
“In Southern Hemisphere countries, the variety is still in the process of registration or waiting to be released, so we expect we’ll be planting the first red orchards in 2019,” said Fornari.
“We still have young orchards [in Italy] which will give some volumes of fruit, enough to make some trial supplies to overseas customers. We will progressively add markets and customers as the volumes will be constantly increasing in the near future.”
Samples will be sent to the Chinese market this coming season, with commercial volumes to be shipped next year to mainland Chinese cities like Guangzhou, Shanghai, as well as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
With the Italian kiwifruit season running from November, the company has been busy making preparations and will attend this week’s Asia Fruit Logistica.
“Europe is or main market (around 70%) but we are constantly increasing the overseas quota, especially in Asia and the Americas,” he said.
“We aim to increase by 10% in both markets for the upcoming season,” said Fornari, adding that the company intends to export a total of 5 million boxes this year – up 30% from last season which saw a volume drop due to frosts.
This led to a drop in exports to Asia, but volumes to Europe still managed to increase.
“Through partnerships with Southern Hemisphere growers, we are also able to offer the market the same varieties 12 months per year,” he said.
The company also plans to penetrate new export destinations in the future, amid expectations its volume of gold varieties will double in three years.
“We are focused on opening new markets from one side, and increasing the fruit volumes of our new varieties (gold and red) from the other side,” he said.