New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri has sent its last shipment for the 2019 season. It exported its final containers to Asia, specifically Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Around 70 metric tons (MT) of kiwifruit was loaded onto the APL Denver this week and is expected to reach the first port in 15 days. According to a statement, 147m trays of kiwifruit were shipped offshore this season. That fruit was sent to more than 50 countries.
Zespri saw "unprecedented levels of demand" this year, says chief global supply officer Blair Hamill.
"Our premium Zespri SunGold and Green Kiwifruit are more popular than ever, and over the course of the season we've moved 44 full charter shiploads and 17,160 containers, or more than 500,000 tonnes in total, to our markets," details Hamill.
Although the season was the second-largest crop ever harvested by New Zealand, its number of containers were slightly down. This season also marked the first that Zespri exported more of its SunGold variety than Green.
The co-op sent 74m trays of SunGold and 73m trays of Green to global consumers and customers in New Zealand.
Citing the shift as a "significant milestone", Zespri highlights that it developed the SunGold kiwifruit through many years of research and investment.
Compared to last year, kiwifruit arrived in Europe and China earlier in the 2019 season. Speaking to this early arrival, Hamill comments: "The 2019 season saw our kiwifruit mature earlier meaning we could ship our kiwifruit to consumers earlier in the year".
He goes on to say that export markets have given the fruit positive feedback this season. 2019 provided one of Zespri's "best-ever tasting crops", according to Hamill.
Insight for next Zespri kiwifruit season
Zespri also provides a quick outlook for what's to come. It confirms that planning is underway for the start of next season's kiwifruit crop. In addition, Zespri will focus on boosting production to meet high demand.
"As we come to the end of the sales programme for New Zealand fruit we're transitioning to Northern Hemisphere production.
"With that crop harvested and being packed we're forecasting a total of just over 19 million trays through our partnerships with growers in Italy, France, Japan, Korea and Greece driving strong returns to those communities."