With a significant increase in organic SunGold kiwis and an adequate supply of organic green kiwifruit this season, New Zealand’s Zespri brand should offer ample promotional opportunities for retailers.
Sarah Deaton, shopper marketing manager at Zespri North America, said growers of the organization’s proprietary SunGold variety are scheduled to ship 87 percent more organic golds to the US market this season than they did last year. The more voluminous Zespri green organic shipments are expected to be up more than 8 percent.
Sarah Deaton, Shopper Marketing Manager, Zespri North America
Shipments of organic SunGolds began to arrive in late May, and shipments of organic green kiwis began to arrive a few weeks later, according to David Posner, CEO and president of Awe Sum Organics. Organic SunGolds are currently in sufficient supply for promotions, and organic green kiwifruit is expected to achieve that status in the coming weeks, Posner said. Organic green kiwifruit has a strong following in the retail community, although organic SunGolds are where the growth is expected to come for the kiwifruit category in the future.
“This is an exciting year for organic SunGold as the 87-percent increase in volume means we will have plenty of fruit to meet the increased demand.” – Sarah Deaton
“The organic SunGold is an amazing piece of fruit,” Posner said. “It is one of the best varieties of any fruit, not just kiwifruit. It is going to be very difficult to develop a variety any better than this one.”
Posner noted that SunGold checks off all the boxes when contemplating the perfect fruit variety: “It’s immediately sweet upon your first taste; it has great flavor; and it has a beautiful appearance. That’s the goal of any fruit.”
The SunGold variety is picked firm (like all kiwifruit), ripens to a perfect pressure point, and then holds that pressure point for a very long time. Posner said Zespri and its US distributors are still introducing SunGold to retailers, which is why this year’s increase in volume will offer great promotional opportunities. The demand is still growing, and this year’s significant increase in volume is expected to be on par with the increase in demand.
David Posner, CEO and President, Awe Sum Organics
“Our main offer to retailers for the organic SunGold variety is a one-pound clamshell,” Posner said, adding that with warehouses in Philadelphia and California, Awe Sum can service the entire country on a very quick basis.
“The organic SunGold is an amazing piece of fruit. … It is one of the best varieties of any fruit, not just kiwifruit. It is going to be very difficult to develop a variety any better than this one.” – David Posner
Posner reiterated that the organic green kiwi is also a very delicious piece of fruit and encouraged retailers to promote both varieties together once the green volume increases. Green kiwifruit tends to be displayed in bulk, but it is also available in one-pound clamshells, which gives the retailer an opportunity to offer their customers two great options.
“I do not see SunGold sales cannibalizing green kiwifruit sales,” Posner said. “The SunGold is adding sales and helping to grow the category. Once they [consumers] get it home, cut it in half, and stick their spoon in it, they usually have a ‘wow’ experience,” he said.
While shipping delays have been plaguing exporters and importers all over the world, Posner said it appears that there will be an ongoing steady supply of Zespri kiwifruit for the next several months. Deaton agreed, stating that there were shipping delays when the season kicked off in May, but those issues have been mostly solved.
Awe Sum is expecting to have good supplies of both kiwifruit colors through October.
“The SunGold is adding sales and helping to grow the category. Once they (consumers) get it home, cut it in half, and stick their spoon in it, they usually have a ‘wow’ experience.” – David Posner
The Oppenheimer Group (Oppy), with headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, is also a North American distributor of organic kiwifruit from Zespri. “Oppy currently has good supply of both Zespri-branded organic SunGold and green kiwifruit,” said Vice President of Categories for Tropicals Steve Woodyear-Smith. “We are seeing a nice uptick in retail sales of organic SunGold as supplies develop in the organic space. Supported by promotional campaigns and primarily packaged in the distinctive Zespri pack, this item really stands out on the retail shelf.”
Steve Woodyear-Smith, Vice President of Categories for Tropicals, Oppy
Oppenheimer is expecting to have supply of organic SunGolds through mid-November and organic green kiwis through the end of November to early December, with promotional opportunities throughout this period. “The fruit is eating excellently again this season,” Woodyear-Smith said. “The SunGold variety is a really exciting item driving category growth for retail as kiwi is the seventh-fastest growing item in the US fruit bowl—in fact 5 points ahead of overall fruit and up 14 percent from a year ago.”
“We are seeing a nice uptick in retail sales of organic SunGold as supplies develop in the organic space. Supported by promotional campaigns and primarily packaged in the distinctive Zespri pack, this item really stands out on the retail shelf.” – Steve Woodyear-Smith
Deaton said that like its conventional counterpart, organic SunGold’s increase in production is the result of trees becoming more mature and producing more fruit. “And there are still more plantings of organic SunGold each year,” she said.
Like Posner and Woodyear-Smith, Deaton said growth in the category lies with the SunGold variety. “It is absolutely mirroring what is happening in the conventional space,” she said. “Green production is flat but consistent.”
Zespri is supporting the promotion of both conventional and organic kiwifruit with point-of-sale material, including an organic-specific display unit.
Deaton echoed the comments of Posner and Woodyear-Smith, noting: “This is an exciting year for organic SunGold as the 87-percent increase in volume means we will have plenty of fruit to meet the increased demand.”