This year should be a good year for organic kiwifruit, said Sue Quijano, marketing coordinator for Awe Sum Organics, Santa Cruz, Calif.
For one thing, organic fruit is seeing more demand throughout the industry, growers say.
“Organic in general is really picking up across all our commodities and kiwi is no different,” said Jason Bushong, division manager at Giumarra Wenatchee, a division of Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos.
“Organic produce demand continues to grow and that would include Zespri Kiwifruit. We continue to support the demand and look for opportunities to grow the category,” said Michele Hoard, marketing manager of Zespri North America.
There should be ample supply to accommodate that growth.
“In order to accommodate this growing market, we have added newly certified organic acreage from our California grower. Also, we’ll bring in increased volumes from our organic kiwifruit grower in Italy, for our East Coast market, as it is so much more fuel-efficient to transport fresh fruit from Italy to the East Coast of the U.S. in containers by boat than to transport it from the West Coast by truck,” Quijano said.
Promotions are suggested.
“We recommend promoting organic kiwifruit in order to drive sales and this season we will have the volume to support promotions,” Quijano said.
As interest in the category grows, some growers are working to expand their organic offerings.
Chris Kragie, import and deciduous sales manager for Western Fresh Marketing, Madera, Calif., said the company is working to build its program.
“It’s still a niche market, but it’s growing, and we’re working on building that up. Some of the chain stores we service are starting to want to carry organic kiwifruit,” Kragie said.
The growth isn’t necessarily with more orders per store, but rather more stores entering the program.
“They aren’t taking 10 boxes a day or anything like that, but there are more stores willing to carry it,” he said.