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It’s all about SunGold in Oppy’s Zespri kiwifruit

Now in its third year of commercial volume, the SunGold from Zespri is setting the pace for the kiwifruit category, according to Steve Woodyear-Smith, Oppy category manager for tropicals.

Woodyear-Smith told The Produce News in late April that the New Zealand fruit “continues to grow, and this season we’ll have fruit across the size range.”

He added, “It’s really a great-eating piece of fruit, and we’re seeing incredible growth.”

In fact, the SunGold saw a 70 percent jump in North American sales last year. “North America is a pillar of growth for Zespri, and SunGold in particular is taking off,” he said. “And we’re still introducing people to it. I really think this is one of the biggest items to be offered over the last 10 to 15 years.”

Woodyear-Smith said studies show “83 percent of consumers who but it consume it as a snack, and that speaks to its unique flavor.”

He said, “We’re expecting another 40 percent in growth this year for SunGold. And demand continues to outstrip supplies globally.”

Oppy received the first loads in Vancouver in April, and Woodyear-Smith said Los Angeles loads were expected to arrive in early May.

“We anticipate good volumes to hit mid-May for the SunGold, and the green kiwi and organic volumes will follow in early June,” he said.

Organic SunGold is expected to be “the next big increase, although it’s in tight supplies this year. Our biggest volume in 2017 will come late May and early June.”

The fruit is presenting in a bigger size profile this season, he said, and new packaging is being rolled out this year.

“We’re looking at clams and bags,” Woodyear-Smith said, adding, “We’ll have fruit across the size range, and the bigger fruit will be packed three to a package.”

Sarah Deaton, marketing manager for Zespri North America, said custom retail programs are being designed for 2017, and social media is also being used.

She said, “We have an exciting social media and digital campaign planned that will feature new video content and other content designed around our ‘Celebrate the SunGold!’ initiative.”

Zespri will be promoting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

“We use these platforms for various reasons like demographics, content strategy, target audience and reach. Our goal is to come up with content that makes sense for the consumer and provides solutions in a creative and inspiring way,” Deaton said.