Chile to export less but higher quality kiwifruit this season

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Chile to export less but higher quality kiwifruit this season

With the Chilean kiwifruit season starting its harvest period, industry members are already making their season forecasts.

Carlos Cruzat, President of the Chilean Kiwifruit Committee spoke with FreshFruitPortal about his expectations. He expects between 10-15% less volume compared to last year, but higher quality fruit. 

Regarding the market in general, he explained that Greece and Italy produce a very high volume (around 600,000 tons), but their fruit is smaller than the one produced in Chile. 

Greece’s season will end late, but with small fruit stored, he said. They will want to sell everything as soon as possible by sending fruit to the U.S.A., India, and some countries in Central America, he added.  

With Italy ending their season just a couple weeks before Greece, Cruzat said that, “It affects us because when there is a lot of fruit until late in the season, it does not allow us to enter early and sell our fruit calmly, but it forces us to enter a little later, very similar to what happened last year."

Cruzat also said that for Chile it will be an increasingly common tendency to start harvesting when the other markets still have fruit because the volume of fruit in Europe has been increasing.

Compared to last year, he anticipates that it will be easier to sell the fruit because of its high quality. In 2022, producers handled historically high volumes of the fruit, but since the size and quality were not very good, it was very difficult to sell.

“Today, we are in a better position than last year. We hope that the last volumes from Greece have good quality fruit so that they don't push prices down,” he added. 

Effect of harsh weather in New Zealand

After experiencing one of the wettest summers in recent history, New Zealand's producing sector was greatly affected, especially after Cyclone Gabrielle hit the country's North Island in February. 

Kiwifruit has been one of the affected products, and volumes are expected to go down this season. 

“What is happening in New Zealand does not affect us negatively in any way, I think it can actually be better because it allows us to sell in a market under less pressure,” said Cruzat. 

Logistical issues and high shipping tariffs were a big headache for Chilean kiwifruit producers in 2022.

“These problems left importers with a rather bitter feeling about the season because they all had marketing problems, costs were high, risks were high, so this year they will try to bring the market to a slower pace, which can benefit us,” said Cruzat. 

U.S. market

After the Covid-19 pandemic, kiwifruit consumption has increased due to the health benefits of the fruit with high quantities of potassium and Vitamin C.

The Chilean Kiwifruit Committee is investing in social media campaigns to promote the fruit in the U.S. They acknowledge the power that social media influencers can have in determining what people consume, therefore it is one of their main tools to grow in the American market. 

Around 20% of Chilean kiwifruit exports go to the U.S. market, the largest individual country, followed by some European countries.

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