The first shipment of what is expected to be a record season of New Zealand-grown ZespriTM Kiwifruit is on route to Europe.
The fruit is aboard MV Cool Eagle, a new specialised reefer vessel built by Cool Carriers, with the ship expected to arrive on Sunday 18 April. MV Cool Eagle is one of a series of five ships that are the largest reefer vessels ever built and will carry over 7,000 pallets of fruit making MV Cool Eagle the largest vessel to carry ZespriTM Kiwifruit to date. The vessel will discharge her cargo of fresh Zespri SunGoldTM Kiwifruit in the Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium.
The first shipment of Zespri Green Kiwifruit is expected to leave for Europe in May.
Giorgio Comino, Zespri Executive Officer Europe and North America, says MV Cool Eagle is the first of five planned charter reefer vessels to Northern Europe under Zespri’s shipping programme this season.
“As we finish up sales of our non-New Zealand grown crop, we’re looking forward to the arrival of the MV Cool Eagle to begin our new season,” says Mr Comino.
“There’s been good pollination and rainfall after pollination this season, which has helped with fruit sizing and it’s looking like another great-tasting crop.
“This season we’re expecting to supply nearly 20 percent more Zespri SunGoldTM Kiwifruit to Europe, reflecting the continued growth in demand for the variety, and around the same level of Green as last season.”
Mr Comino says with this season’s harvest now underway across all growing regions in New Zealand, the wider kiwifruit industry was again working hard to ensure it can safely pick, pack and ship another delicious crop of ZespriTM Kiwifruit.
“There has been a tremendous effort from everyone in the kiwifruit industry to respond to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19,” says Mr Comino.
“While New Zealand remains in level one, the industry will again be embracing additional safety protocols and embracing enhanced hygiene practices throughout the supply chain, and concentrating on delivering more fresh, healthy fruit to its customers and consumers in Europe.”
Mr Comino confirmed that this season’s marketing campaigns would again feature the Kiwi Brothers following a successful launch in six core European markets last season.“
This year, we are integrating these popular characters on our prepacks and through promotions with our retailers.
“We’re also excited to begin rolling out new cardboard packaging lines this season, after significant investment in our Zeebrugge packing station, and this season ZespriTM will be able to offer nine million prepacks without plastic flow wrap, reflecting our commitment to sustainability.”
With the new season approaching, Mr. Comino is looking forward to again working with Zespri’s long-term suppliers and partners.
“Our suppliers and partners continue to play a major part in our successes throughout the year, and we would like to recognise them for their work delivering our fruit to consumers, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.”
With global operating revenue of NZ$3.36 billion in 2019/20, ZespriTM is one of the world’s most successful horticulture marketing companies and the ZespriTM brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ over 600 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas. On behalf of our 2,800 growers in New Zealand and 1,500 growers based elsewhere, ZespriTM manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZespriTM Green, Zespri SunGold TM, ZespriTM Organic, ZespriTM Gold, ZespriTM Sweet Green and ZespriTM Red Kiwifruit.