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Zespri spreading the word about kiwi by adding a little color

Zespri is a company that is dedicated to spreading the word of the many joys of kiwifruit, and one way it’s achieving that goal is by adding a little color to its offerings.

Based in New Zealand with North American offices in Newport Beach, CA, Zespri introduced its Sun Gold kiwi to market a few years ago, and its success is helping drive the sales of this delicious fruit.

“It’s a sweeter, more tropical taste and you see that it’s giving consumers another flavor and another way to enjoy Zespri kiwifruit,” said Sarah Deaton, marketing manager —North America, for Zespri.

Zespri-SunGold-Orchard-1-A The Sun Gold was in development for about 10 years. It’s been sold in the United States for the past three years, and in promotable volumes for about two years.

“There are lots of different variety of kiwifruit and we worked hard to find the best-tasting ones,” Deaton said. “We’re really excited about this variety, it’s a propriety variety to Zespri so only Zespri carries this particular variety.”

Innovations like the Sun Gold have helped make Zespri a leader in kiwifruit.

“We’re a global company and what sets us apart is that we only do kiwifruit,” Deaton said.

“We don’t do other commodities or other fruit. We’ve been growing kiwifruit for over 100 years now,” she continued. “We definitely perfected the craft and we’re always working to innovate to bring better flavor, and better growing practices, to bring out that flavor to consumers. Our goal is we want people to eat kiwi and we want them to come back, so we want great-tasting kiwi for consumers.”

Zespir is promoting all its kiwifruit through its digital platforms, and by running a consumer campaign that promotes healthy snacking.

“We know that kiwifruit gets a bad rap sometimes because people don’t know how to eat it,” Deaton said.

“They think it’s hard to eat, or they just don’t know what to do with it. We’re helping people understand how to eat kiwifruit, just cut it in half and scoop it with a spoon, so that’s something that’s helpful for consumers.”

The company also is hosting a Real Snack for Real Life contest, which invites people to enter drawings for prizes that are designed to make life easier, such as a free cleaning service for a week.

“People are really responding to that, and they like the idea of that, so we’ve had a great push for that,” Deaton said.

Also key to Zespir’s strategies is creating partnerships with retailers for in-store displays. Deaton said large displays help people notice kiwifruit, and that results in more sales.

“We’re driving it from the consumer standpoint, but once they get into the store, the consumer needs to find it,” Deaton said.

“So by making these large displays and getting it out in the open for them, it’s very helpful. We’re also doing demos in-store as well, because once people taste this piece of fruit, they’re just hooked, they love it.”

Deaton added that Zespi is poised for growth in the North America markets.

Recent hires include Jason Donaldson as its new operations manager and Raul Murguia, regional marketing manager who handles the Americas.

“We can really start to help drive that consumer demand and we’ve already seen it with the marketing programs we’ve done this year,” she said.

“It’s very exciting to see people trying the gold kiwi and saying ‘Oh, I’ve tried it, it’s the best I’ve had.’ It’s exciting to see, especially online, the reaction from consumers.”