Thursday, 02 November 2023 11:44

Zespri's overseas tours return

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Around 50 Zespri Kiwifruit growers from New Zealand have been able to see the fruit they grow on retailer shelves in Singapore and across Europe. Around 50 Zespri Kiwifruit growers from New Zealand have been able to see the fruit they grow on retailer shelves in Singapore and across Europe.

Around 50 Zespri Kiwifruit growers from New Zealand have been able to see the fruit they grow on retailer shelves in Singapore and across Europe for the first time since an overseas industry tour hiatus due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The group of growers from the Bay of Plenty, South Auckland, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay included representatives from Zespri and grower advocacy body Māori Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (MKGI). The group includes growers producing the full Zespri Kiwifruit offering including Green, SunGold, RubyRed and Organics.

The first stop was Singapore where the group attended the official opening of Zespri’s new Centre of Sales and Marketing Excellence which acts as a vital hub connecting Zespri’s markets, as well as with growers in New Zealand and offshore. The group also visited FreshMart, Zespri’s Singapore distribution and repack partner.

Growers then travelled to Europe to visit orchards, packhouses and key markets Italy, France and Belgium, including the Rungis Market in Paris – one of the largest wholesale fruit markets in the world – and the Zeebrugge storage and repack facility.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson says it’s been fantastic for New Zealand-based growers to reconnect with markets where the fruit they grow for Zespri is sold.

“The group has been able to experience the Zespri System first hand; visiting our Zespri offices and a number of wholesalers and supermarkets to see their kiwifruit on display, as well as meet with some of our customers. The group has also visited orchards and packhouses in Latina, Italy involved in our Northern Hemisphere supply kiwifruit operation.

“It’s been an opportunity for our growers to see how we’re creating demand ahead of supply through continuing to invest in our brand and strengthening the way we sell kiwifruit as the teams strive to support New Zealand and offshore grower returns. While Zespri volumes in market are quite low as the New Zealand season comes to an ends, growers have seen the execution of displays including new cardboard-based sustainable packaging.

“There’s a huge amount of work that goes into creating a world-leading fruit brand. That includes investing to understand our consumers so we can deliver what they want, to earn their trust and to ensure they see the value in what we offer. And also building strong relationships with distributors and customers so we’re the first thing people see in the fresh produce aisle through ensuring we supply high quality, tasty produce consistently. And it’s great for our teams in market to meet the growers they work on behalf of and to see what it means to those growers to see their fruit on shelves around the world.”

Bay of Plenty grower Neil Trebilco says, “It’s fantastic for growers to see Zespri fruit in market and some have even seen their own fruit which is very special, while the passion of the market teams and customer teams to do their absolute best is very clear to see.”

South Auckland grower Monty Spencer says, “Fruit quality is much improved this season despite it having been a challenging growing season and this is a testament to the improved decision making on orchard and through the supply chain. We welcome further transparency to growers on fruit quality performance which is on the way to help growers to continue to improve.”

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