Southern Fruits International (New Zealand) promotes online pre-sales, expected to double volumes in 2024

22 Feb 2024

Southern Fruits International, the New Zealand producer of luxury cherries, expects to send up to 340 tonnes of cherries to the global market this summer, slightly more than double the volume shipped last year. This season marks the second commercial year for Beyond brand cherries, produced in two large orchards covering over 160 hectares in central Otago.

Sharon Kirk, the company's founder and marketing manager, anticipates an exciting season, with significant interest from existing and developing markets in Asia, the Middle East and the US. Kirk attributes the confidence in the brand and the fruit to the pre-sale system presented at the Asia Fruit Logistica international trade fair in Hong Kong last September, where many buyers took advantage of the opportunity to pre-purchase fruit.

Favourable pre-season conditions and increased fruit loads due to ripening trees contributed to the volume forecast. The trees, now between three and four years old, are halfway to full production, with an increased fruit load promising a promising harvest, characterised by exceptional size and sugar content, provided the weather remains favourable.

Harvesting has already started with the early varieties and will extend until February, depending on weather conditions. Kirk emphasises the importance of providing fruit available on the shelves just in time for Christmas, especially for Asian customers.

Over the past year, the company has expanded its presence in several markets in the US and the Middle East, and has also extended its reach into China, Taiwan and Vietnam, with Thailand emerging as a new potential market. Kirk points to the Chinese market's growing interest in smaller fruits and lighter boxes, as opposed to the traditional preference for larger fruits and heavier boxes.

In addition to exports, Southern Fruits International also supplies premium cherries to the domestic market through online sales of 1 kg, 2 kg and 5 kg crates and through Seeka Fresh Ltd, which supplies local supermarkets and retailers.

The launch of a dedicated online shop has enabled New Zealanders to associate cherries with Christmas, ensuring the availability of the prized fruit throughout the festive period. The positive response to online demand suggests that Central Otago cherries will continue to be accessible for online purchase throughout the season.

Read the full article: HortNews
Image: Southern Fruits International

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