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Securing our shelf space — expanding 12-month supply

Voting is now open in this year’s Producer Vote where producers are being asked to support an expansion of Zespri Global Supply (ZGS).

With Zespri approaching the current threshold of 5,000 hectares of offshore plantings of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit approved by producers in 2019, the proposed expansion will allow Zespri to plant up to an additional 10,000 hectares of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit in countries other than Chile and China, helping establish 12-month supply in key markets.

Zespri Chief Global Supply Officer Alastair Hulbert thanked growers for their engagement on the issue over recent months.

“We’ve had a number of really good conversations with growers and the broader industry over the past few months about ZGS and the proposal to expand our current plantings," says Alastair.

“These have allowed us to talk through how important the ZGS programme is in terms of meeting the growing demand for our fruit when New Zealand-grown fruit is unavailable, some of the wider benefits ZGS brings, and also how we plan to mitigate the risks that have been identified.

Alastair says Zespri has been successfully operating the ZGS business for 20 years.

“The risks such as protecting the brand and its intellectual property and managing season cross-over are well known and there are well established systems in place to manage them — ZGS has an excellent record of achieving this and we encourage all growers to support the expansion so that we can protect our shelf space and meet the growing demand for our fruit year-round.”

Alastair says that if ZGS is expanded, there are not expected to be any changes to the timeframes that New Zealand fruit supplies the market, and New Zealand fruit sales will continue to be prioritised at the start and end of the New Zealand season.

“The key is to ensure consumers can buy Zespri Kiwifruit every day of the year, so that we don’t lose them to the competition,” he says.

“We know that in the few months when our fruit isn’t available, we risk losing customers to our competitors or even to other fruit types and ZGS fruit plays a critical role in saving us from having to spend more marketing money to get those consumers back when the New Zealand season starts again.

“We believe expanding our offshore plantings will help us better establish 12-month supply and ultimately protect and enhance the investment that New Zealand growers have already made in the Zespri brand.”

As well as seeking approval for up to 10,000 hectares of additional Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit plantings, growers are also being asked to approve an expansion of new varieties — from 1,000 to 2,000 hectares—in case of offshore commercialisation of red kiwifruit, or possibly new varieties of green kiwifruit.