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Export Award For Zespri International Ltd

Export Award For Zespri International Ltd

Tauranga, May 28, 2003 -- ZESPRI International Ltd, global marketer for the kiwifruit industry and New Zealand’s biggest horticultural export earner, has won a Trade New Zealand Export Award for its outstanding achievements in overseas markets.

(Note to Editors: Media are invited to attend the presentation of the Trade New Zealand Export Award to ZESPRI International by Winnie Laban, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Trade Negotiations, at 10.45am, Wednesday 28 May 2003, at The Reserve, next to the ZESPRI offices, 400 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui.)
CEO Tim Goodacre says the Tauranga-based company has increased returns to its shareholders and growers for five consecutive seasons. Sales of ZESPRI™ Kiwifruit totalled $800 million in 2001/02, up from $746m in 2000/01, with almost all its revenue generated from exports.

Mr Goodacre says ZESPRI is the global leader for kiwifruit. He says the company fights competitors on value rather than price, offering a unique multi-product portfolio that provides the consumer with a choice. Key products are ZESPRI™ GREEN, ZESPRI™ GOLD and ZESPRI™ ORGANIC Kiwifruit, for which the company was recently named Organic Exporter of the Year.

“Our main competitive advantage is our integrated product and delivery system, which sees us working in partnership with growers, suppliers and customers to maximise sales and returns,” says Mr Goodacre.

“The integrated system enables continual quality assurance, innovation and improvement of our product portfolio. It allows us to be agile and responsive to market demands.”

ZESPRI International sells its kiwifruit to customers in 65 countries, with key export markets Japan and Europe. A global organisation, it has 200 staff in offices around the world, including Belgium, Italy, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the US and New Zealand.

Mr Goodacre says the increase in sales over the past several years is attributable to a combination of factors. These include growing awareness of the ZESPRI™ brand and recognition that it stands for quality and taste consistency, increasing appreciation of the nutritional properties of kiwifruit, and the highly successful global commercialisation of ZESPRI™ GOLD.

Launched in 2000 after five years of development and millions of dollars of research, he says sales of ZESPRI™ GOLD, the new, sweeter kiwifruit variety, have exceeded all expectations. “To appreciate just how successful we are as an industry, you have to remember that only four major fruits and nuts were successfully domesticated in the 20th century. The United States was responsible for three of them; avocados, macadamia nuts and blueberries. New Zealand, a country the size of Colorado, got the fourth, kiwifruit. ZESPRI and the New Zealand kiwifruit industry not only globally commercialised kiwifruit, we also became the preferred world marketer of the best kiwifruit in the world – a position we still hold today.

“ZESPRI International, as the world’s best marketer of kiwifruit, wanted to maintain its industry premium position with the introduction of GOLD, so as to offer consumers a choice. Consumer reaction has been extraordinarily positive.

“And in terms of the introduction and global commercialisation of ZESPRI™GOLD, American President Thomas Jefferson put it in context when he said, “The greatest service which can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture”.

Mr Goodacre says the success of GOLD is a tribute to the partnership between ZESPRI and the industry.

“We are continuing to work together to learn how to optimise supply and distribution chain and learn about the idiosyncrasies of this new variety of kiwifruit. A key priority is to protect the intellectual property for ZESPRI™ GOLD so the New Zealand pioneering investment in the variety is rewarded and exclusivity is retained. We’re also working closely with international partners to ensure a consistent 12 month supply of GOLD.”

Trade New Zealand Account Manager Jodie Tipping congratulated ZESPRI International on winning an Export Award.

“With integrated processes and results, this is one of New Zealand’s high performing organisations. The ZESPRI organisation is a truly global entity with a management structure to support that. Its processes and systems are constantly benchmarked against international industry comparisons and a culture of innovation is evident throughout the organisation.” Tim Goodacre says ZESPRI is continually pushing its standards higher to maintain its edge over rapidly improving competitors. The company makes a significant investment in enhancing the quality and taste of its products through its subsidiary ZESPRI Innovation.

Along with offering consumers consistently excellent quality and taste, he says ZESPRI is also able to assure them of the safety of its products through its compliance with all internationally accredited programmes, plus its own traceabiity and quality assurance systems. He says this is a critical success factor, with food safety becoming a growing issue around the world.

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