There is significant potential for New Zealand to export more fruit and vegetables, says a visiting US fruit and vegetable expert.
However, Rabobank’s California-based senior fruit and vegetable analyst Dr Roland Fumasi says the industry must keep a close eye on evolving consumer consumption patterns if it is to maximise export opportunities.
In New Zealand last week to meet with local growers and to deliver a keynote address at the Horticulture New Zealand conference in Tauranga, Fumasi noted the growing middle-class population in developing countries had generated considerably greater global demand for fruit and vegetables.
“Rising incomes in the developing world have changed global eating habits over the last 25 years and this has favoured the fruit and vegetable category,” he says.
“While we’ve seen minimal change in global consumption of food categories such as cereals, pulses and oilcrops over this period, the fruit and vegetable category has flourished with global consumption rising from approximately 175 kg per capita per year in the early 1990s to well over 250kg per capita per year in recent years.”