4th April 2022 By Staff Reporter | email@example.com | @foodtickernz
New Zealand solidified its position as the world’s largest kiwifruit exporter in 2021 and the impending launch of Zespri’s RubyRed provides an opportunity for further growth, according to Rabobank.
In a new global report, No red light for green and yellow kiwifruit, the specialist bank said that expanding consumption in Asia, the EU and the US supported a strong outlook for New Zealand kiwifruit exports.
It noted that global kiwifruit production reached four million metric tons in 2021 – a three year high, but still below the record figures of 2018.
“Led by China, which accounts for more than 50% of global supply, kiwifruit production has remained somewhat stable. But that doesn’t mean changes are not occurring,” report author, Rabobank senior fresh produce analyst David Magana said.
He added that if China was removed from the production figures, since almost all of its supply goes into the domestic market, there were five main producing countries – New Zealand, Italy, Greece, Iran and Chile.
Of these, New Zealand is leading in production due to increased acreage, and (excluding China) now represents 33% of total global production, up from 24% in 2012, according to Magana.
Off the back of this production increase, New Zealand solidified its position as the world’s largest exporter of kiwifruit in 2021.
“New Zealand kiwifruit exports reached a record figure of 647,700 metric last year, 13% more than 2020,” Magana said.
Exports out of Italy were down in 2021, while volumes from Iran, Greece and Chile remained stable.
“About 88% of New Zealand kiwifruit exports went to Europe and Asia in 2021, with Asia predominantly importing the golden kiwifruit, [taking] 60%, while Europe primarily imports the green variety, [accounting for] 50%.”
Nevertheless, New Zealand golden kiwifruit exports to Europe showed a higher compound annual growth rate (CAGR) than those to Asia over the past five years at 26% versus 13%.
This increase in imports of golden kiwifruit by Europe is expected to continue in the short and medium term, according to Rabobank.
Magana said that since 2020, New Zealand exports of golden, or yellow, kiwifruit have surpassed Hayward, or green, exports in volume.
“We expect to see this trend continue in the medium-term, given planted area of Hayward is declining, while increasing for yellow varieties,” he said.
“A further opportunity for the New Zealand industry, is the launch of Zespri’s new RubyRed variety which is set to enter the market in the 2022 season. And we’re confident this variety will find a niche in the Asian market due to its red pulp and berry taste.”
With the consumption of kiwifruit expanding in Europe and Asia as well as the US, the prospects for New Zealand’s kiwifruit sector remained strong, however, production challenges were expected for growers in New Zealand and in other key kiwifruit production regions.
“Growers and exporters are likely to face significantly higher costs, including but not limited to fertiliser, energy, harvest packaging and freight,” Magana said.
“Although inflationary pressures have exacerbated since the beginning of the war in Europe, the relevance of Russian and Ukrainian markets is relatively limited for kiwifruit exports from the southern hemisphere, but indirect implications will impact the industry, particularly on the cost side.”
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