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Kiwifruit Trade Information

1997 Crop Estimate: Approximately 10,250,000 tray equivalents. One tray equivalent is equal to approximately 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 pounds of kiwifruit, depending on the size.

The preliminary Ad/Promo plan is being designed to emphasize the nutritional benefits of kiwifruit. There will be a major paper published in September that will publicize the nutritional value of kiwifruit. This plan will be front-loaded for an early consumer push starting in October.

Kiwifruit Ripening Guidelines for Consumers

Be sure you eat only ripe kiwifruit!! Kiwi is ripe when it yields to gentle finger pressure. If your kiwifruit is still hard when you purchase it, just place it in a paper bag for a few days at room temperature. Your kiwi will ripen even faster if you place an apple or a banana in the bag, too. Once ripe, your kiwi will keep in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Kiwifruit Ripening Guidelines for Receivers

Featuring "ready to eat" (ripe) kiwifruit in your stores has proven to increase shelf turns at retail -- a key component in produce department profits. A number of California kiwifruit growers and shippers are using our preconditioning protocols to supply you with ripe fruit in the early season. All California shippers can precondition upon request.

This brochure is designed to assist you in providing ripe kiwifruit to your customers everyday. This brochure is based on five years of research funded by California growers in cooperation with the Pomology Department, University of California, Davis. It includes a simple guide to handling preconditioned kiwifruit and information on how to ripen kiwifruit yourself at the warehouse or store levels.

The easy-to-follow format outlines the following items:

Determining stage of ripening

Determining Stage of Ripening

Fruit firmness is the best measurement of ripeness. Fruit firmness is defined as the force necessary to break the flesh tissues
and it is related to different stages during the ripening process. For example, fruit firmness of a mature fruit varies from 18-12 pounds. During ripening, softening occurs, thus fruit firmness decreases reaching values of 2-3 pounds. When fruit reaches 2-3 pounds it is considered ripe or "ready to eat." This is the level that kiwifruit will achieve its best eating characteristics. Minimum shipping firmness is defined as 4-5 pounds. Fruit with firmness below this level becomes more susceptible to physical damage during transportation and handling.

To determine the ripening stage, kiwifruit which arrives at your warehouse should be tested for flesh firmness using a standard fruit penetrometer with an 8.0 millimeter tip (5/16"). Fruit firmness should be measured on warm fruit (55-77F).

As a general rule, non-preconditioned kiwifruit received in your warehouse which have been in storage less than four weeks or has a flesh firmness level of 8-10 pounds or greater should be treated further by using ethylene treatment to enhance ripening at the warehouse or store levels. Fruit which have been in storage equal or more than four weeks or has a flesh firmness of less than 8 pounds can be ripened to optimum levels by temperature management.

Handling Pre-Conditioned Kiwifruit at the Warehouse/Store

Pre-conditioned kiwifruit firmness must be tested upon arrival to the warehouse or retail store and handled according to its rate of softening (Table 1) and your rotation time.

Fifteen kiwifruit may be taken from the upper corner box in the pallet. A mature kiwifruit is usually harvested and shipped with a flesh firmness of 18-14 lbs-force (hard). Pre-conditioned kiwifruit should arrive at destination warehouses with a firmness near 6-12 lbs-force but never lower than 4-5 lbs-force. Fruit arrival temperature should be lower or equal to 50F.

Kiwifruit should always be kept at low temperatures (below 45F), except if they are going to be consumed within 3 days. Keep kiwifruit enclosed with liners as long as you can.

Cooled kiwifruit enclosed with liners should be moved to the retail market before they reach a firmness of lower than or equal to 4-5 lbs-force to avoid vibration and impact bruising damage during transportation and handling (shipping point).

After delivery to the retail store, when kiwis reach the room temperature of 20-25oC (68-77oF), preconditioned kiwifruit will lose nearly 3 lbs-force per day. If kept at 7.5 to 0oC (45 to 32oF), kiwifruit will soften at a rate of 2.0 lbs-force per day (Table 1). As kiwifruit reach 2-3 pounds and start to deteriorate during display (warm rack), kiwifruit can be placed in a cool room overnight or

transferred to a cold rack if it is available to prolong their postharvest life. Frequent rotation and placing the softest kiwifruit at the front of the display are advised.

Consumers should be informed that preconditioned kiwifruit or ready-to-eat (2-3 lbs-force) kiwifruit must be refrigerated if they are not eaten immediately.

Temperature Ripening

If the flesh firmness is more than 5 pounds, but less than 10 pounds, its ripeness can be triggered and controlled at your warehouse by temperature management.

The fruit temperature should be adjusted according to the anticipated consumption schedule (Table 1).


Table 1

Rate of Kiwifruit Softening after Ethylene Treatment at 20oC (68oF)


Temperature Rate of Softening

oC	 oF	lbs/day 

0	 32	 1.2

5	 41	 1.4

7.5 	 45 	 1.9 

20	 68 	 3.4 - 3.7 

Ethylene Ripening

Kiwifruit can be treated in existing banana or tomato ripening rooms using 10-100 ppm of ethylene per 6 hours. To avoid or reduce fruit shriveling, kiwifruit should be placed in ripening rooms in tray pack or volume fill packages with polyliners. Temperature setting will be according to predicted fruit consumption (Table 1).


Dr. Carlos Crisosto

University of California Davis

Kearney Ag Center

PH: (209) 891-2500


Current Press Releases



Dr. Roberta Cook, the public member commissioner of the California Kiwifruit Commission Board of Directors, is the new chairperson for the Board's 1997/98 term. Cook, a board member since 1991, was elected by the Board at a meeting in Modesto, California. She is the first woman to be appointed to the position of chair of a California commodity commission.

An agricultural economist at UC Davis, Cook specializes in fresh produce marketing, consumer trends and international marketing. She brings valuable expertise to the Commission as it accelerates its efforts to strengthen the position of California kiwifruit in the world market.

"As the CKC moves into a global marketplace, we are forging new trading relationships. Roberta's experience in international market development, her knowledge of Latin America, and her fluency in Spanish and Italian will be invaluable assets in working with our trading partners. She is the right person at the right time", said Gary Suthers, outgoing chairman.

The appointment of a public member to the position of chair is an unusual event. Cook is one of a handful of public members to be appointed chairperson of a marketing order commodity board.

"For the Commission Board, comprised of growers and grower-shippers, to select a member who does not pay assessments to run the ship is fairly unique", said Glenn Yost, senior agricultural economist of the California Department of Food and Agriculture which oversees state marketing orders. "Her appointment as chair reflects Cook's track record in helping the CKC with its marketing efforts. It shows their faith in her leadership capabilities."

There are currently 46 California state marketing order commissions, programs and councils and 15 to 20 federal orders. Appointed by the CDFA, public members are chosen for their usefulness in helping the commodity board carry out its purpose and to represent the public interest.


After an extensive search, it has been announced that Scott Horsfall has accepted the position of President of the California Kiwifruit Commission. Scott will begin his duties with the CKC on September 2, 1997. Scott has been with the California Table Grape Commission for nearly 15 years and has extensive background in marketing management both in the U.S. and internationally. The Executive Committee and other Board members who were able to attend the interviews were all confident that they found "the right person for the job".

Scott achieved his M.A. in International Relations in 1994 from California State University, Fresno. Prior to this, he had completed his B.A. in Communications/Advertising at B.Y.U., graduating in 1982.

He has been the Vice President-International Marketing for the California Table Grape Commission since 1990. Earlier duties for the California Table Grape Commission include Vice President-Promotional Activities from 1988 to 1990 and Director-Advertising from 1983 to 1988.

Being closely involved in the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council in Washington, D.C. and the International Trade area of the Produce Marketing Association in Newark, Delaware give Scott great credentials for handling the current situation facing the CKC in regard to the National Kiwifruit Checkoff Program.

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