New pan-American office in California
It was an all-New Zealand affair in Orange County, California recently as Zespri officially opened its regional office to manage growing sales across Northern, Central and Southern America.
Zespri chief executive Lain Jager says Zespri is growing strongly across North America with most of this growth coming from the new gold variety Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit, which is proving hugely popular.
“The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is on track to more than double sales to $4.5 billion by 2025 and an important part of this growth will come from developing markets like North America, as well growing sales in our more established markets. Zespri is relaunching the kiwifruit category in the United States and the wider Americas region to attract new consumers and grow sales.”
Kiwifruit in the US is an underdeveloped category at number 21 in the overall fruit bowl compared to ranking in the top 10 for most European and Asian countries. However, sales of all kiwifruit in the US – Zespri and other brands – are growing well above general fruit sales.
Zespri SunGold sales volumes in North America have grown over 100 percent over the past two years and are projected to hit nearly US$50 million in 2018/19, as consumers respond to the delicious tropical sweet flavour. At present, around 40 percent of SunGold sales are through Asian-American retail outlets, as these communities are more familiar with Zespri Kiwifruit. However the new variety appeals to mainstream American consumers too, with exciting growth through mainstream customers.
Mr Jager explains that retailers’ needs are changing and Zespri is working with distributors to meet those needs. “By appointing market development managers, we’ve been able to work with key retailers to build meaningful programmes to expand our distribution across the country and returned more value to our retail partners and New Zealand growers,” says Mr Jager.
Zespri is increasing its marketing investment to introduce more people to the great taste of Zespri Kiwifruit with an integrated PR, digital and social media campaign which includes in-store geotargeted mobile advertising, along with new eye-catching retail packaging.