Red variety release decision postponed to 2019
In the January 2018 Kiwiflier, Zespri advised that the Zespri Board had requested the management team to fast-track data collection for a red variety to allow a 2018 commercialisation decision.
Any commercialisation decision on a new variety usually takes place after a minimum of three years in pre-commercial trials and any fast track commercialisation decision in 2018 would be made on limited information. At the Zespri Board meeting on 23 February 2018, it was decided not to proceed with a commercialisation decision of the red variety in 2018 but to continue collecting data for a 2019 commercialisation decision.
Despite all of the efforts to learn as fast as Zespri can about the red variety, it was agreed that Zespri needs to take more time to fully understand the scope and scale of the risks.
There is strong market demand for a red variety in the Zespri portfolio. The potential value in the red category means that Zespri is willing to accept more risk in order to get to market quickly, but in accepting this risk Zespri feel they still need to be sure that we are prudent with any commercialisation decision.
Zespri have stated that the decision to not commercialise a red in 2018 does not impact on their commitment to increase research and development investments this year to fast track their learnings on reds, with the view to a commercialisation decision in 2019 if possible.