Zespri changes its distribution strategy for the Netherlands


"Zespri chooses Aartsen as its new distributor"


Aartsen never underplays the importance of its partners. After all, they supply the quality products that set Aartsen apart from the competition. 


Aartsen will be welcoming a leading new supplier in 2021: Zespri. The brand is looking to expand its distribution strategy for the Netherlands, and Aartsen is set to play an important role in this process. Although everyone obviously knows the global brand by name, Zespri's Head of Sales for Europe, Sophie de Lantsheere, will be introducing 'her' company in detail to help you get to know the company more closely.


Stronger together

Our story starts in the 1980s, when 

New Zealand's kiwi industry was facing some tough challenges. Supply had overtaken demand due to the rapid growth of industry and large crop volumes. Coupled with unfavourable market conditions and exchange rates, the situation caused kiwi prices to hit 

an all-time low.


New Zealand's kiwi growers realised they would be stronger if they joined forces, resulting in the establishment of Zespri in 1997. To this day, we still have the exclusive right to export New Zealand kiwis to every country in the world, except Australia.


Global reach

Zespri has the capacity to market all New Zealand crops. We employ more than 800 people worldwide and have offices in New Zealand, Japan (Tokyo), China (Shanghai), Singapore, the United States and Europe. Our products are shipped to 59 countries and we are currently the largest kiwi supplier in the world.


On shelves all year round

While mainly grown in New Zealand, our kiwis are also sourced from Italy, France and Greece. Kiwis are an autumn product. The season starts around the end of April in New Zealand and early October in Europe. This allows us to ensure that Zespri kiwis are on supermarket shelves all year round. Zespri currently has 2,800 growers in New Zealand and 1,700 partner growers throughout the rest of the world.


Organisational core values

We are committed to harnessing 'kiwi goodness' to help people, communities and the environment flourish on a local and global scale. Our organisation is driven by three core values. Firstly, we are dedicated stewards of the earth. According to the Maori's kaitiakitanga doctrine, we are all responsible for protecting the air, the sea and the land for future generations. In addition to feeding people, we also aim to nourish the world's soil and sustain global food production. Secondly, we are result-oriented. Thirdly, personal relationships are our top priority.


Innovation and product development

Our constant thirst for innovation drives us to deliver quality and meet changing consumer needs in ever more efficient ways. We are continually working to develop more sustainable production methods, optimise our fruit quality and protect our crops from pests and diseases.


While Zespri invests heavily in innovation, we do so in a natural way that requires patience. Our innovation programme is built around a solid relationship with our research partner: Plant & Food Research. Together, we invest in the development of new kiwi varieties as part of the world's largest kiwi cultivation programme.


Our product development activities remain exclusively focused on the kiwi segment. We are experts in this field and still have plenty of challenges to address. We recently announced the introduction of the Zespri Red Kiwi. This red variety is slightly sweeter and softer than the yellow kiwi. Consumers from all over the world have already proved to be highly enthusiastic about this tasty newcomer. However, it will take at least three to five years to build the necessary production capacity. We expect to start by introducing the Zespri Red Kiwi to the Asian market.


More satisfied consumers

We provide a premium product, making us appealing to specialist shops and retailers. 

There is still enormous potential for further growth. Our ambitions could be summarised as follows: making sure more satisfied consumers reach for a Zespri kiwi from the fruit shelf more often. In order to realise this ambition in the Netherlands, we have decided to change our local distribution system: we will be expanding our distribution network with Aartsen.


A solid family business

We're very excited about our partnership with Aartsen. We consider Aartsen to be a solid family business that has managed to adapt to market trends over the years. Their combination of experience and dynamic leadership convinced us to add them as a partner. Aartsen's customers are very important to us. We believe we can send a strong signal to that segment of the market by choosing to partner with Aartsen. 


Although that doesn't mean the retail channel is any less important, we believe specialty shops are also essential. The recommendations of the seller or fruit merchant are an important incentive for consumers to try a new product, especially in the fruit category. We are proud to see so many fruit traders acting as true Zespri ambassadors. And hope to work better with them in this way.


An eagerly anticipated partnership we look forward to working with aartsen from the start of the next new zealand season. We believe the chances of success are high if two parties are willing to go for something they are truly passionate about. Well begun is half done, as they say!


The aartsen Zespri team

Ready, set, Go!


Aart Bezemer

Team captain


Lissa Vermeiren

Aartsen Breda

+31 (0)76 - 52 48 137


Youp Meeuwissen

Aartsen Breda

+31 (0)76 - 52 48 170


Edwin Verbruggen

Aartsen Venlo

+31 (0)77 - 32 41 249