The report, compiled by Coriolis Research, found New Zealand has been seeing a major shift in the segment away from its traditional markets of Europe and North America, with greater opportunities for further growth to regions like India and the Far East.
Sweeter tasting new varieties of apples and other fruits are specifically being developed to cater for Asian taste preferences, while the recent summer drought has helped to make sweeter fruit, which in turn has further increased popularity in Asia.
“The report highlights that we can become a fruit bowl for Asia. Asian consumers prefer the sweetness and quality of New Zealand fruit and we are achieving considerable success there,” said Minister Steven Joyce.
Exporters and producers have been focusing more attention on Asia to take advantage of higher prices and lower freight costs and shipping times, compared to traditional markets such as Europe.
At the same time, they have been seeing a significant growth in the export value of the produce. Over the last decade, kiwifruit’s export value has almost doubled from NZ$567m in 2002 to NZ$1bn last year.
Even in spite of the discovery of Pseudomonas syringae pv actinadiae bacteria, better known as Psa, in kiwifruit orchards in recent years, and the impact of costly strategies to contain the canker, industry sources cited in the report indicate that export value growth has the potential to continue into the future once the impact of the disease has passed.
The report highlights a number of potential directions for growth in the fresh fruit sector including new varieties, value-added products and new and emerging fruits.
“The report says that avocados, cherries and blueberries stand out as fruit that have the potential to create meaningful export growth. There are also opportunities to develop fruit extracts and ingredients for foodservice and nutraceuticals,” Joyce added.
Driving Growth in the Fresh Fruit Sector is part of a series of reports released under the Food & Beverage Information Project, which the government claims is the most comprehensive analysis of New Zealand’s food industry ever undertaken.