First Fresh News

First Fresh Persimmons

NZ Persimmon leave for China after 12 year access battle

New Zealand’s first export of persimmons is set to leave for China after a 12 year effort to gain market access concluded successfully this week. Gisborne-based exporter First Fresh will send the trial shipment of Gisborne persimmon next month following approval from China’s quarantine authority AQSIQ. Negotiations for market access began in 2005 and persimmon will be the first new fruit to gain access to the Chinese market since the FTA was signed in 2008.

First Fresh director Brian Pepper says his China strategy is to start small and gain a clear understanding of consumers before taking the next step. “China is a market with the potential to fuel decades of growth for the New Zealand persimmon industry, but only if we get it our approach right. That’s why we’re only exporting a test shipment of 10,000 trays in the first year. We want to make sure we understand the market and consumer preferences to ensure the market is ready for us before we arrive in force,” he says.

The first shipment of New Zealand persimmon will be marketed in China by Foodview, a New Zealand specialist marketing company that operates in China and the USA. Foodview’s John Miller says the first shipment will be used to get extensive customer feedback through 250 retail stores as well as China’s hugely popular WeChat social media platform.

“It’s critical we understand how Chinese consumers react to New Zealand persimmon. We grow a firmer variety than the native Chinese persimmon, which is typically eaten when it’s softer and juicier. We need to understand what Chinese consumers think of the difference and learn how to educate them to appreciate New Zealand product,” he says.

About persimmon in New Zealand

New Zealand’s 50 persimmon growers have 154 hectares under cultivation, 70 percent of which is in the Gisborne area. New Zealand’s total persimmon exports are around $8 million, mainly to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.


For more information, please contact:

Chris Brown 027 477 9484