A taste of New Zealand is currently en-route to Tokyo and Busan.

The season’s first shipment of New Zealand-grown Zespri Kiwifruit is on board the MV Kakariki which is expected to complete its voyage in early April.

Zespri’s chief global supply officer, Alastair Hulbert, says this shipment is the first of 57 planned charter reefer vessels under Zespri this season, which has gone up from 49 charter vessels last season.

It is expected that Zespri will send 18,000 containers of kiwifruit internationally this season.

“We’re expecting to supply around 177 million trays of kiwifruit this season, or approximately 700,000 tonnes, which will be a record-breaking crop of New Zealand-grown Zespri Kiwifruit,” says Hulbert.

“Our latest forecasts indicate we could potentially reach 100 million trays of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit this season which would be a significant milestone for the industry and reflects the growing popularity of the variety since its commercialisation 10 years ago.”

China will also have the opportunity to try Zespri Red Kiwifruit, and these will be available in New Zealand stores shortly with the first shipments scheduled to arrive in Singapore, Japan and China in early April.