[2 December/NZ Herald]

Global kiwifruit marketer, Zespri, is looking at opportunities to grow kiwifruit in North America as consumer demand there soars for its Sungold variety. Chief Executive, Dan Mathieson, said Sungold sales jumped 32 per cent this year with 4.7 million trays sold compared to 3.3 million last year, while the sales of green kiwifruit doubled to 2.6 million trays. Zespri also benefited from what Mr Mathieson called an organic foods boom across North America, with 640,000 trays of organic kiwifruit being sold compared to 370,000 last year. Much of the Sungold fruit for North America was sourced from Zespri’s Italian growers who are currently scaling up production, but Mr Mathieson says the company‚Äôs goal is to have high quality fruit available to North American consumers 12 months a year and as a result they believe that locally sourced fruit will provide the best result. Zespri has been pushing hard into North America for about four years with its target consumer cities New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Boston. Along with mainstream fruit, whole berries are emerging strong competition for Zespri kiwifruit in North America, Mr Mathieson added.