Zespri turns page on difficult 2022-23 campaign

Thu 22/06/2023 by Richard Wilkinson

Zespri endured a challenging 2022-23 campaign, in line with the rest of the kiwifruit industry. Global sales volumes fell from 201.5 million trays in 2021-22 to 183.5 million, leaving revenues of US$2.38bn, 3% lower than the record result of 2021-22.

Zespri Chief Executive Officer Dan Mathieson attributed the results to a very difficult period for many producers, with growers facing challenges relating to the labour shortage, the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the climate, and rising costs.

“This was one of our toughest-ever seasons and the industry worked incredibly hard to deliver our fruit to market, despite facing an extraordinary number of challenges including a significant labour shortage. We continued to see strong demand and pricing in the market and secured more than $100 million in savings via our foreign exchange hedging policy. However, quality costs have significantly impacted grower returns which have dropped from the highs recorded in recent seasons,” said Mathieson.

Zespri’s exports fell to US$315 million, down from $326 million last year. This reflects similar challenges experienced at the company’s offshore growing regions, with its Italian growers in particular facing extreme heat and some of the worst quality costs they have experienced in recent years.

Additionally,  Zespri’s net profit after tax was US$144 million, down from the record profit of $219 million in 2021-22, with Zespri releasing a reduced number of SunGold Kiwifruit hectares as part of its 2022-23 license release programme.

However, Mathieson was upbeat about the outlook for the industry. “While conditions remain challenging, the first shipments of the 2023-24 season have been well received by our customers, indicating initiatives from the industry’s Quality Action Plan are helping reduce quality costs and keeping poorer quality fruit onshore. Our industry has a proven track record of being able to address challenges by working together and with a strong demand outlook, we remain encouraged by the opportunity for the industry to deliver greater value for growers and our stakeholders in the years ahead,” he said.

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