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The health benefits of kiwifruit

zepKiwifruit pack a lot of flavor and strong health benefits, and the fruit has been a staple of Catania Worldwide’s operations for decades.

“Kiwi is our number one commodity by volume,” said Mario Masellis, director of sales and marketing for Catania Worldwide, headquartered in Mississauga, ON. “Within the United States, Mexico and Canada, we are one of the largest importers of kiwifruit into North America so we take it seriously.”

The company grows kiwi in Madera, CA, and imports from all over the world, including Italy, New Zealand, Greece and Chile, allowing for a year-round supply. Kiwi is currently at the tail end of the North American production, with Southern Hemisphere harvesting starting soon.

“Kiwi is a very nutrient-dense fruit. It’s one of the highest in vitamin C, two to three times more than an orange,” Masellis said. “Potassium is about the same or a little higher than bananas. It also has a lot of vitamin K and a lot of minerals. It’s a fibrous fruit as well.”

Historically, retailers would bring in kiwifruit that were rock hard, but Catania Worldwide is trying to promote something different, with Masellis noting this rock-hard fruit is not very edible.

“They should be displaying on their supermarket shelves a piece of fruit that’s softer and edible,” he said. “So, when a consumer does take it home, they can eat it immediately and become a repeat customer so the next time they are in the store, they will buy it again. The eating experience is such a good one because of the flavor.”  

He’d also like retailers to promote the different varieties of kiwi, and the company tries to communicate through the packaging of the different types, calling out a taste message, the appetites of the appeal and the health benefits.

“Produce managers should be educating their consumers on kiwi,” he said. “They also should be promoting what we like to call, ‘the cut and scoop.’ In order to make kiwi more convenient for children, we recommend cutting it in half and scooping it out like an egg. When you share these opportunities with consumers, they usually eat more of it.”

Lila Baig, marketing coordinator for the company, suggests using kiwi raw in smoothies and cakes, plus other desserts and even savory dishes like Pico de Gallo.

“One of our favorites is kiwi smoothies,” she said. “In a blender mix two kiwi, peeled; half a cup of plain Greek yogurt; half a teaspoon of vanilla extract; half a large banana, and one cup of spinach and blend until desired consistency is reached.”

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