( Courtesy The Oppenheimer Group )

Kiwifruit is on trend and retail sales are reflecting that conviction.

Within the top 20 fruits, kiwifruit was the fastest growing fruit segment this past summer, said Sarah Deaton, marketing manager for Zespri North America.

According to IRI statistics for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 11, kiwifruit sales were up 10% compared with a year ago, while the total fruit category is down 1%.

Retailers can spur kiwifruit sales by using large displays, Deaton said, noting that a recent third-party study revealed a 96% dollar increase when doubling the size of the kiwifruit display to six feet by two feet. 

“Multiple display locations also help increase sales,” she said. 

Merchandising kiwifruit in and out of the produce section and near the check-out lanes also helps to increase sales.

Additionally, she said retailers who position kiwifruit near fruit with similar pricing strategies can see a sales bump.

“Sampling is a great way for consumer trial and is very effective for new sales,” she said.


Solid 2018 gains

Retail kiwifruit sales rose in 2018, reflecting increases in both volume and average price per pound.

IRI/Fresh Look Marketing Statistics reveal that U.S. retail sales of kiwifruit in 2018 were pegged at $177.7 million, up 7.4% from $165.4 million in 2017.

Retail statistics showed that 70.1 million pounds of kiwifruit were moved in 2018, up 3.6% from 67.6 million pounds in 2017.

Retail pricing, according to IRI/Fresh Look Marketing, averaged $2.54 per pound, up 3.6% from $2.45 per pound in 2017.

Organic impact

Meanwhile, IRI reported that organic kiwifruit sales in 2018 totaled $10.3 million, down 4.4% from $10.77 million in 2017.

Volume sold during 2018 was reported at 2.6 million pounds, down 10% from 2.89 million pounds in 2017. 

IRI/Fresh Look reported the 2018 retail average price per pound for organic fruit was $3.94 per pound, up 5.9% from $3.72 per pound in 2017.

Fresh Trends

The Packer’s Fresh Trends 2019 showed 21% of consumers said they purchased kiwifruit in the past year. 

By income, the survey indicated 28% of consumers making more than $100,000 annually purchased kiwifruit, compared with 18% of consumers making less than $25,000.

Women tend to purchase more kiwifruit than men. Fresh Trends indicated that 23% of women said they purchased kiwifruit in the past year, compared with 18% of men.

By generation, Fresh Trends indicated that young consumers are slightly better consumers of kiwifruit than older consumers. Fresh Trends 2019 data showed 23% of consumers age 18-39 reported they purchased kiwifruit, compared with 18% of consumers over 59 years old.

Consumption, supply

Kiwifruit consumption has grown at a steady pace in recent years.

While 2018 figures are not yet available, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that per capita kiwifruit consumption in 2017 was 0.6 pounds, up from 0.58 pounds in 2016 and was up 20% more than 2010.

Shipments of kiwifruit from California and import volume from New Zealand, Chile and Italy totaled 355.4 million pounds in 2018, according to the USDA. That number compares with 319.9 million pounds in 2017 and about 120 million pounds in 2010.