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Reflections from recent New Zealand visitors

Alastair Hulbert – Chief Supply Officer, Zespri

After 2 years of inability to travel to Europe it was great to get on the ground and see first hand the excellent work that is being done by a highly skilled, hardworking and enthusiastic Zespri team in ZGS Europe.

There is a considerable ecosystem existing between SunGold Kiwifruit growers, post harvest, technicians and Zespri teams that continues to improve results for all involved and deliver on the Zespri brand promise with consumers.

I came away very confident in what is being achieved and the future growth potential for both Zespri and our ZGS growers as we focus on our 12-month supply goals and enhancing the benefits to NZ growers.

Andrew Dunstan – CEO, Southern Cross Horticulture

During my recent travels to Europe, I had the opportunity to spend 2 days with the ZGS team in Greece. It was clear to me that Italy and Greece have great potential and that if we don’t move quickly, they will become our competitors as their growers plant other varieties. I believe that 12-month supply protects NZ grower returns by controlling shelf space in the market during the New Zealand off-season. This protects our price premium and ability to supply from NZ smoothly as the season comes on. Provided we have clear principles around prioritising NZ fruit it makes good sense to release further hectares into the northern hemisphere. To the point that if we don’t release more licence I suspect as growers we are at risk of losing our premium in the long term future.

Shaun Gardner – Head of Global Commercial, Zespri

Visiting the pre commercial SunGold Kiwifruit sites in northern Greece highlighted the effort and desire the Growers and Post-Harvest technicians have in growing a successful SunGold Kiwifruit crop. They are very enthusiastic to learn and are waiting in anticipation to have the authority to plant SunGold Kiwifruit at a commercial level.

With the strong growth of Hayward volumes in Greece new packhouses and cool stores are being built with some having the capability to be powered 90% with Solar. This strong investment in Kiwifruit infrastructure shows the commitment there is to develop a strong Kiwifruit industry within Greece. Zespri has a window of opportunity to contribute to this growth before competitor Golds obtain a strong foothold.

Lorry Leydon – Head of Productivity ZGS, Zespri

I was blown away by the passion and capability of the growers we visited in Italy – they have a strong focus on increasing yields as well as supplying the quality of fruit that delivers on the Zespri promise.

I was lucky enough to visit several Italian suppliers who were keen to have me taste the last of the seasons SunGold Kiwifruit. This product has been instore for 28 weeks and was still in superb condition. It was also pleasing to see that our suppliers are completely aligned to our goal of delivering 12-month supply to our consumers.

The ZGS team in Europe is incredibly passionate and laser focused on delivering our 2030 strategy – the growth we are expecting is in safe and secure hands