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New red kiwifruit cultivar to be released

04 Dec 2019

Plant & Food Research is excited that a new red kiwifruit cultivar from the New Zealand kiwifruit breeding programme will now be available to Zespri growers.

Zespri® Red Kiwifruit is the first red-fleshed cultivar to be commercially released from the breeding programme, a partnership between Plant & Food Research and Zespri. The programme has previously released several cultivars, including ‘Hort16A’, the first yellow-fleshed kiwifruit cultivar, marketed as Zespri® Gold Kiwifruit, and ‘Zesy002’, known as Gold3 and marketed as Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit.

The red variety is the result of a natural breeding cross which took place in 2007. The first fruit from the cultivar were produced in 2009 and were identified with superior characteristics required for successful commercialisation, including a strong red coloured centre, sweet taste and good texture.

“It is always exciting for our breeding team when a new cultivar is released to commercial growers,” says Dr Zac Hanley, GM Science New Cultivar Innovation at Plant & Food Research. “The release of a cultivar is the culmination of about 15 years of research across a range of science disciplines - from the breeders who initiated the original cross, the teams that studied the best way to grow the plants and harvest and store the fruit, and the sensory scientists who tested whether the fruit meets consumer expectations.”

Zespri will be releasing at least 150 hectares of Zespri® Red Kiwifruit to growers in 2020.

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If you’re a journalist interested in this news, please contact one of our Communications Team at or:
Emma Timewell, Communications Manager, +64 (0)21 242 9365
Laura Ward, Senior Communications Advisor, +64 (0)21 572 813
Maja Burry, Senior Communications Advisor, +64(0)21 609 569


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