It took several years for gold kiwifruit to regain volumes after a devastating bacteria wiped out supplies.
But the gold is back, and it’s time to shine.
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand-based Zespri saw phenomenal growth of its SunGold variety last season, and is pushing as fast as possible to take the new fruit year-round through expansion of production to Italian operations.
SunGold has a sweet and slightly tangier flavor profile than previous gold varieties, which is a winner in North America, says Sarah Deaton, North American marketing manager.
“North American consumers love the variety and flavor,” she says. “It has smooth skin, less seeds and has a longer shelf life.”
Deaton says Zespri represents about 80% of the gold kiwifruit category.
The variety has been a winner for retailers, too.
“Within the kiwifruit category, golden kiwifruit drove category dollar gain with sales increasing 125% for the 52 weeks ending 12/3/17,” she says. “Zespri plans to target 50% growth for this year.”
Promotions got a boost through regional display contests, which Zespri plans to bring back this year, along with point-of-purchase displays and other merchandising materials available for order.
“Our test program during the 2017 season generated a 400% increase during the promotional period,” she says. “Overall we have a very exciting and strategic plan for the 2018 season.”