Zespri market trends show consumers prefer larger sized Zespri SunGold (Gold3) kiwifruit, this is reflected in strong market demand and a higher value for larger sized fruit compared to smaller sized fruit. According to Zespri International “Larger sized Zespri SunGold kiwifruit offer a better eating experience, have stronger demand, and faster run rates”. In addition, larger sized fruit from the 2021 season has allowed the value of Zespri kiwifruit to lift in a number of key markets. Taste and quality of Zespri kiwifruit are key drivers of consumer repeat purchase and perceived value. In Zespri SunGold kiwifruit there is a strong positive correlation between Dry Matter (DM) % (taste) and Fruit Weight (g). A larger sized fruit (i.e., a size 22) will have a higher DM% than a smaller sized fruit (i.e., a size 39). Therefore, a larger sized fruit has more taste and a better eating experience than smaller sized fruit, which is a driver of the higher value for large sized fruit. This value is then reflected in grower payments through tray price and the taste payment system of Taste Zespri Grade (TZG).
Global demand signals show that the preferred average size for Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit is 28.1. Market demand for size 39 Zespri SunGold kiwifruit is 5% of the crop, however this demand is less than the typical supply of size 39’s in most seasons. Therefore, creating a surplus in supply of size 39 fruit. A Zespri review of the 2020/21 season, has shown that size 39 Zespri SunGold kiwifruit provided an impediment at harvest due to a number of growers delaying harvest because size 39’s did not meet Minimum Taste Standard (MTS) and gain clearance to pick. This led to mainpack harvest becoming more congested for packhouses. In addition, delays in harvest from the impediment of Size 39’s, has contributed to detriments in fruit quality with softening of larger sized fruit. For the 2022 season size 39 Zespri SunGold kiwifruit have moved to Non-Standard Supply (NSS). This means that Zespri will only accept the volume of Size 39’s into inventory that equals market demand to maintain value and grower returns. Furthermore, the weight band for size 39 Zespri SunGold kiwifruit has adjusted, according to Zespri International “this will allow approximately 45% of Size 39 fruit to move into size 36 and reduce the proportion of the crop in Size 39”. This change in size 39’s becoming NSS means that for the upcoming spring period Southern Cross Horticulture (SCH) Orchard Managers will need to establish their thinning strategies to optimise fruit size and ensure they avoid growing size 39 fruit.
Source: Zespri International (Kiwiflier - Page 6 August 2021, Page 2 September 2021)