18 May 2017

Kiwifruit sales to Japan up by almost a third in two seasons

3:11 pm on 18 May 2017

Zespri's sales to Japan have grown by 30 percent in the past two seasons, with the Japanese kiwifruit market worth about $500 million last season.

Green kiwifruit growers got their highest ever return per hectare of $53,884 and just over $6 a tray.

Zespri's kiwifruit sales in Japan were a half-billion industry last season. Photo: 123RF

The exports to Japan accounted for 16 percent of Zespri's total global sales, even with fruit sales in Japan dropping by 10 percent in the past decade.

Chief executive Lain Jager said Zespri sold a record 24 million trays of kiwifruit to Japan last season and this would keep growing.

"Looking ahead we can see ourselves growing to 30 million trays over the next five to seven years. Really good steady growth in what for us is a premium market.

"It means more exports of green and gold kiwifruit out of New Zealand it also means more local production for us in Japan."

He said this meant the Japanese fruit would fill the New Zealand off-season.

The success was driven by consumers focus on health, said Mr Jager.

"What we've got in Japan is an ageing population and like consumers all over the world they become more and more concerned about health as they age.

"And what we're seeing year after year is just an increase in consumption of kiwifruit."

He said Zespri was expanding its Japan production, which would lead to the aggregation of larger land areas.