A European country that’s fallen in love with Zespri’s export fruit has become the kiwifruit marketer’s third 20-million tray market in the world.
Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson says while Japan and China are the brand’s biggest consumers, in last year’s season Spain came in as the third biggest customer.
“Europe as a whole really grew last year – with our global supply trays sold up from 56 million trays in 2017 to 66 million trays last year with strong consumer demand for all varieties.
“And within that Europe mix – last year the superstar was Spain. It was one of our biggest markets there where we stepped up to supply 20 million trays last year.”
Dan says the Spanish consumer loves fruits – “they are also very focused on health and nutrition, so we saw a strong demand for kiwifruit”.
“We’ve only got three 20 million-tray markets in the world – Japan, China, and now Spain.”
Giving a media briefing at the Zespri tent at Fieldays last month, Dan says Japan was Zespri’s superstar market last year, with very strong consumer demand there driving around five million trays of growth over both green and gold varieties. “We also saw very strong demand for organic fruit in Japan.”
And in China, Zespri’s second biggest market, sales last year grew more than three million trays to more than 27 million trays in 2018. “Over the last few years, China has continued to be our fastest-growing market,” says Dan.
Pleasing growth was also experienced in North America. “Last year our volume going there increased by more than half,” says Dan. “We’ve opened an office in California and now have around 15 people managing our retail relationships and key accounts on the ground.”
Dan says this market had very strong consumer demand for SunGold and organics. “But we also saw more and more consumers looking for a premium quality green.
“These consumers would have been more conditioned to other origins of green in previous years, so to get them to try NZ green at its best – last year was a great opportunity to do that – saw a great consumer response.”
Zespri’s total operating revenue for 2018 was just over $2.9 billion – “and including our licence revenue it took us over the $3 billion mark for the first time”. “So that was another milestone – which is incredibly exciting for the industry and puts us well on track to deliver $4.5 billion by 2025.”