NEW ZEALAND – Zespri, a key player in the fresh produce market, projects a substantial growth in the 2024 kiwifruit season, estimating the export of approximately 193 million trays worldwide.

This optimistic forecast comes on the heels of favorable growing conditions across New Zealand, setting the stage for a remarkable increase from the 133 million trays shipped last season and surpassing the 175 million trays shipped in 2021.

Zespri CEO, Dan Mathieson, highlights the pivotal focus on delivering consistently high-quality fruit throughout the season.

He notes the improved growing environment compared to recent challenging seasons, which were marked by the impacts of COVID-19, labor shortages in 2022, and various climatic events in 2023.

“It’s been a far more settled growing environment compared to the last couple of seasons when growers were facing several challenges, including the impact of COVID-19, the significant labor shortage in 2022, and the many climatic events that New Zealand experienced in 2023,” states Mathieson.

Despite the early stage of the season, Mathieson expresses confidence in the excellent crop and the industry’s excitement and optimism.

The increased volume of fruit prompts careful consideration of managing the supply chain effectively while ensuring consistently good quality fruit to maximize value for growers and communities.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re striking the right balance of having a good source of early-season fruit to capitalize on early-season sales opportunities and having fruit that stores well so that we can have a consistent flow of fruit through the season and minimize late-season quality issues,” explains Mathieson.

Acknowledging the potential disruptions in international shipping, Mathieson assures that Zespri is closely monitoring the situation.

Although unaffected by the disruptions in the Red Sea, Zespri opts for shipping via the Panama Canal, showcasing adaptability in navigating challenges.

A key element in Zespri’s strategy for the upcoming season is the return of the Kiwi Brothers, who played a central role in previous marketing activities.

Mathieson emphasizes the importance of these campaigns to maintain high sales rates throughout the year, showcasing Zespri’s commitment to a robust marketing approach.

“Our marketing teams have been working hard on developing some great campaigns based around our award-winning Kiwi Brothers to ensure we’re able to keep our sales rates up throughout the year,” says Mathieson.

Reflecting on the challenges of the past couple of years, Mathieson expresses excitement about the year ahead and emphasizes the company’s preparedness as the season commences through harvest in the coming weeks.

The positive projections from Zespri align with the broader optimism within the kiwifruit industry, signaling a potential record-breaking season that could benefit growers, communities, and the global market.

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