[14 March/Stuff NZ]

Zespri is about to release 30,000 trays of the Zespri Red variety, grown on New Zealand orchards.  The red variety will be sold during a limited release in the next five weeks and is selling for around $7 per kg. The red fruit has a sweet taste similar to the SunGold variety but has a berry twist according to Bryan Parkes, Zespri’s Cultivar Innovation Manager. The red flesh appears from a unique and naturally occurring pigment, called anthocyanin, within the fruit. Zespri and Plant & Food Research started developing a red kiwifruit in 2000, but the first generation was wiped out by the PSA disease, Mr Parkes stated. Zespri Red ripened faster, especially at ambient temperatures, plateaued at a lower firmness and was good eating when softer.  Results in 2017/18 show the volume of Green category sold fell 23 per cent from the previous year’s record to 64 million. At the same time the Gold category was up 9 per cent to 52 million trays sold. In the 2017/18 review, Zespri Chief Executive Dan Mathieson described the SunGold variety as a “game-changing product”.