India— the diabetes capital of the world has realised the potential benefits of kiwi as a nutritional powerhouse that helps regulate sugar among its other benefits. From being a difficult to source and expensive fruit, kiwi has come a long way since its introduction to the Indian market in early 2000s.

Today, demand for the fruit substantiates the stocked supermarket shelves with this nutrient rich super food. “The Indian fruit market has changed since the lockdown started. Although restrictions have been lifted in certain states, others are still struggling. It has resulted in less demand for the more perishable products, like grapes. Meanwhile kiwifruit and citrus have become more popular in the country,” stated a recent report.

The market for this fuzzy fruit increased as people started savouring the taste and understanding its nutrition content. Kiwi contains vitamin C, folate, potassium, antioxidants and dietary fibres such as potassium, vitamin E and trace minerals. In India, kiwi was first planted in the LalBagh Gardens at Bangalore as an ornamental tree. However, 75% of the demand for Kiwi in India is imported from New Zealand, Chile, Iran, Germany and Italy. India imported 43K tonnes kiwi in the year 2019.

The global value of consumption of kiwi fruit is forecasted to reach USD 20,051 million by 2024, from USD 14,262.6 million in 2018, states Mordor Intelligence.

When introduced, kiwi entered Indian markets in pack sizes of 2-3 unit punnet sizes, primarily due to the price point and lack of information to generate robust demand among the consumers. With time, acceptance for this exotic fruit increased and people were no longer hesitant in buying larger quantities. Zespri International— world’s largest marketer of kiwi fruit states that India is the strongest emergent market for kiwis adding that among all exotic fruits, Kiwi has witnessed the fastest growth, with a compound annual growth rate of 80-100%. Therefore, packaging for higher quantities of kiwi emerged and became a significant factor in its consumption growth.

High variety in packaging options helped increase consumption of kiwis. Because of their high impact and pressure-sensitivity, kiwis are packed in single layers in plastic punnets. Consumers were introduced with three-piece kiwi packs, which were later followed by packs of two, four and more. The PNG 600 triangle punnet is an innovative design from the house of AVI Global Plast under its brand Prime Punnets. We have been pioneers in introducing new designs to the market across products, over the years.

Another revolutionary innovation in kiwi and other fruit packaging is the use of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) over Polypropylene (PP) as the material due to the latter’s milky film resulting in low clarity. This restricts the consumer to get a clear picture of freshness inside the punnet.

Right from the point of harvest and shipment to store shelves and table tops, the Kiwi fruit can be impacted by temperature fluctuations, moisture, and pressure. Packaging plays a very crucial role in keeping these damaging factors at bay.

The pandemic further emphasised the importance of packaging in general. Reports state that in 2020, the lockdown and decreased consumer spending caused by the pandemic is to put a drag on the growth of the global kiwi fruit consumption. In the medium term, as the global economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic, the market is expected to grow gradually. Overall, market performance is forecast to pursue a slightly upward trend over the next decade, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +1.3% for the period from 2019 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 4.9M tonnes by the end of 2030.

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About the author

Sukhdeep Sethi

Director, AVI Global Plast

Sukhdeep Sethi is a qualified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He has also received certification for Executive Management from INSEAD, France. He has over 15 years’ experience in sales, marketing, strategy and product development in the rigid PVC and Pet sheets and thermoformed products in India and exports. He has been integral to the expansion and diversification of AVI Global Plast’s product and market mix, working with leading domestic and multinational brands.

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