UK sales of Gold to reach 250,000 cartons; smaller retailers to be offered prepacks Zespri Gold price parity nears as volume builds Zespri Gold has now reached sufficient volume to be traded this coming season at the same pan-European price as the traditional brown skinned variety, according to Lorraine Kirby, its UK marketing manager. This is despite the fact that the licensed smooth-skinned sweeter kiwifruit grown in New Zealand needs greater care in picking and handling and, consequently, is more expensive to grow. As the first fruit came in on the Frio Hellenic last week at Portsmouth, which has replaced Tilbury as the arrival dock, Kirby said UK sales of Gold were expected to reach 250,000 cartons ­ 8% of the total crop. "We expect the total UK market for all our kiwifruit to grow to 3-3.5 million cartons, an increase of about 500,000 cartons, of which 10% will be organic, with a total value of £10m," she added. This year for the first time Zespri will offer smaller retailers the chance to stock prepacks by operating a special service through Mainland Market Deliveries, which discharges and stores part of the crop. Luc Clerx, deputy general manager for Zespri International Europe, said there were plans to join with grower partners in Italy, California and Japan. They will follow New Zealand's harvesting and selection standards in order to establish a premium priced product to be sold by Zespri under its registered brand year-round. This target in five years is in the region of 10 million cartons. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}