Oppenheimer opens Chilean kiwifruit season

03/22/2011 03:35:39 PM
Mike Hornick

Courtesy The Oppenheimer Group

Chilean kiwifruit under the Summerkiwi label is about to hit retail shelves as Vancouver, Canada-based The Oppenheimer Group opens its second season marketing and distributing it.

“We’ll be transitioning customers over to Chile next week,” Steve Woodyear-Smith, Oppenheimer’s kiwifruit category director, said March 22. “Some will stay on Italian a little longer, but within two to three weeks everyone will be on Chilean.”

The label touted by Oppenheimer for its sweetness – brix levels reach as high as 17 or 18 – is coming into New York and Los Angeles ports. It’s the company’s main supply for the fruit until the New Zealand deal starts in May, and volume is expected to be up.

“We’ve got a plan volume of two to three times what we brought in last year,” said Woodyear-Smith. “We should have about 40,000 boxes. It may end up more or less as we get into the harvest. The plan is to grow this in a strategic environment so we’re not flooding the market, but hopefully we can build up some recognition so that (buyers and consumers) request that label.”

Oppenheimer markets one in four kiwifruits sold in the U.S. and Canada, according to the company. The Summerkiwi, longer and more egg-shaped than most kiwifruit, comes in a range of sizes labeled with GS1 bar codes. It’s sold in 9-kilogram fill packs and trays.

Oppenheimer plans to back it with ads, demos and a social media outreach.

Besides sweetness, they’re marketing tenderness.

“Typically with a lot of early season fruit, it’s hard and sits for quite a while before it’s soft enough for the consumer to cut and get a spoon into it,” Woodyear-Smith said. “Summerkiwi ripens quickly and sits quite nicely at reasonable (brix) levels that give it a nice shelf life.”



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