World demand encroaches on U.S. imports of NZ pipfruit

06/21/2013 10:44:00 AM
Coral Beach

AngelysCourtesy Giumarra WenatcheeAs the exclusive North American supplier of Angelys pears grown in New Zealand by Freshmax, Giumarra Wenatchee expects the bronze-skinned variety to arrive in the U.S. for the first time in the beginning of July.Some U.S. importers are confirming what recent statistics from the New Zealand government show: Fruit exporters in the island nation are shifting toward Asia and away from North America.

However, program directors with The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Giumarra Wenatchee, a division of Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos., say there will be promotable supplies of apples and pears from New Zealand to tide over American consumers until domestic harvest begins.

In mid-June, New Zealand’s Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce released a report, “Driving Growth in the Fresh Fruit Sector,” that documented the growing opportunities in Asia as well as increasing interest from New Zealand’s growers about sending their fruit there.

“The report highlights that we can become a fruit bowl for Asia. Asian consumers prefer the sweetness and quality of New Zealand fruit, and we are achieving considerable success there,” Joyce said in a news release June 13.

Apple anticipation

Jason Bushong, sales manager for Giumarra Wanatchee, said apple volumes out of New Zealand in particular are expected to be down slightly through the import season this year.

“Other markets in the world, especially Asia, are starting to have an impact on availability” Bushong said. Despite competition from other regions for supplies and weather issues that delayed most pipfruit in New Zealand by a week or two this year, flavor profiles are exceptional for apples and pears from the country this season, said Bushong.

Jazz applesCourtesy OppyDavid Nelley, Oppenheimer’s category director for apples and pears, said demand for Jazz apples is exceeding demand.Bushong and David Nelley, Oppenheimer’s category director for apples and pears, said unusually large supplies of U.S. storage apples from the 2012 harvest are causing a bit of an issue for the New Zealand import deal, but both said they were confident their customers would continue to seek fresh stock.

“Traditionally you might think that demand for imports would be down because of the storage situation,” Nelley said. “Demand, for apples especially, is so high right now that we are seeing good prices that we expect to carry on through the New Zealand deal,” Nelley said.

Nelley said demand for Jazz apples, for example, are exceeding supplies.

He said a clean finish for the variety in Washington primed consumers for the import season. He expects to bring about 375,000 40-pound equivalents to the states this season.

“Jazz is the largest variety in terms of volume we import from New Zealand,” Nelley said, adding that about 40% of all Oppy apple imports from the country are the Jazz variety. Envy apples also are highly anticipated, Nelley said.


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