The final 2019 shipments of Zespri’s New Zealand kiwifruit crop were heading to Asian markets in December, putting an exclamation point on a season that saw SunGold shipments exceed Zespri Green volume for the first time.
About 147 million trays of kiwifruit were shipped offshore this season from New Zealand to more than 50 countries, Blair Hamill, Zespri’s chief global supply officer, said in a news release.
“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 (metric) tons in total, to our markets,” Hamill said in the release.
The 2019 season was the second-largest crop ever harvested by New Zealand’s kiwifruit growers, behind only the 2018 season.
This season also marked the first season Zespri exported more SunGold than green kiwifruit, which Hamill called in the release a “significant milestone.”
“Zespri SunGold was developed through Zespri’s partnership with Plant and Food Research, after many years of research and significant investment by New Zealand growers,” he said in the release. “Owned by Zespri it’s generating strong returns to New Zealand communities and to our licensed growers offshore and we’re excited about the international demand for it.”
In total, over 74 million trays of Zespri’s SunGold and 73 million trays of Zespri Green were supplied to global consumers and customers from New Zealand this season, according to the release.
Zespri is transitioning to its Northern Hemisphere production, which Hamill estimates at just over 19 million trays through partnerships with growers in Italy, France, Japan, Korea and Greece, Hamill said in the release.
“Demand for our fruit continues to grow faster than our ability to meet it and we’re working hard to boost our production so we can continue to supply the world’s leading portfolio of branded kiwifruit all 12 months of the year.”
The first shipments of New Zealand’s 2020 kiwifruit crop are anticipated in March, Hamill said in the release.