Article by: Hari Yellina
Zespri achieved a milestone accomplishment for the 2021/22 season, with total global fruit sales income topping NZ$4 billion for the first time, thanks to a record crop, continuous investment in brand-led demand development, and the industry’s capacity to respond and harness its scale and structure. Despite the industry’s enormous problems this season, Zespri’s 2021/22 Financial Results indicate total global fruit sales revenue of NZ$4.03 billion, up 12 percent from the previous year, and total global operational revenue of NZ$4.47 billion, up 15 percent. In addition, global sales volumes climbed 11% year over year to 201.5 million trays.
Despite the significant uncertainty created by the COVID-19 epidemic and cost hikes across the supply chain, direct returns to the New Zealand sector increased to a record $2.47 billion, including loyalty payments. Regional areas such as the Bay of Plenty, Northland, Nelson, Gisborne, and the Waikato shared in the profits once again. Zespri’s Non-New Zealand Supply sales increased to $536.9 million, while the company’s net profit after tax increased to $361.5 million, a record result and an increase from the restated profit of $277.1 million in 2020/21, owing to a strong overall performance and continued demand for the Zespri SunGold licence.
According to Zespri Chairman Bruce Cameron, the results indicate a tremendous effort by the sector to continue to operate safely despite the pandemic’s hurdles. “This was an exceptional season in which the industry encountered significant headwinds in the market, throughout the supply chain, and on the orchard, but we all worked together to overcome the obstacles and continue to prosper.” Not only have we delivered strong returns for growers, including the second-highest per hectare returns in the industry, but we’ve also strengthened our partnerships across our global supply chain, continued to make positive contributions to our communities, and made industry-wide decisions to position ourselves for long-term success.”
The results, according to Zespri Chief Executive Officer Dan Mathieson, reflect the company’s continued investment in the Zespri brand, its ability to create value by building demand ahead of supply, and its long-term relationships, which have helped the industry overcome challenges and move forward. “Given the magnitude of the problems we faced in the 2021/22 season, this is a very satisfying result.” The epidemic and ongoing supply chain disruption, changing weather patterns, tighter restrictions, changes to fruit flows, increased market competitiveness, labour shortages, late-season fruit quality difficulties, considerable cost increases, and international trade challenges were among them.”
The industry is working hard to ensure that the remaining crop for the 2022/23 season, which has lower volumes than expected, can be delivered. The harvest of SunGold Kiwifruit and Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit for this year is now finished, and green packing is underway. According to Mr. Mathieson, issues remain this season, with the pandemic continuing to affect the global supply chain, particularly shipping networks. “We recognise that the current season presents a more difficult scenario, but the industry continues to adapt and collaborate to ensure that we are serving the increased demand for our fruit, handling the uncertainty and obstacles, and achieving another strong result.” The industry’s future is tremendously bright, with significant growth potential ahead of it, and they are excited about it.