The future for the horticulture industry is in Asia, says Turners & Growers managing director Jeff Wesley.

Wesley heads to Berlin tonight for the world's biggest fresh-produce expo, which runs from tomorrow to Friday and involves supermarkets from Europe, Asia and Middle East.

"It's huge, it's the number one show in the entire world," Wesley said.

"It's principally a show where the sellers and marketers of fruit meet the buyers of fruit."

Turners & Growers exports more than 250 lines of produce globally, with 45 companies in the group and offices in places including Peru, Britain, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

The company posted a turnover in 2009 of $834.8 million.

Wesley said its globalisation had grown over the past three to five years, with about 40 per cent of turnover generated from overseas produce.

Often the talk at trade shows was of new varieties, he said. "We've actually been asked by a supermarket for blue apples," Wesley said. "I guess the growth in Asia's the other big story."

United States shoppers tended to shop once a fortnight for fresh produce, while in Asia that would be two or three times a week, he said.

"From a produce point of view it's a fantastic developing market," he said.

"We certainly think that the future for New Zealand horticulture in five [or] 10 years time will be in Asia - it won't be in Europe ... [or] the USA."

Shipping to Europe takes about six to seven weeks, compared with seven to 15 days to Asia. "So the shipping cost is considerably less and the fruit arrives in much better condition and is purchased more frequently."

The purchasing power of people in Southeast Asia, including China, was dramatically increasing, he said.

"We reckon, for example, this year the middle class in China will increase by 40 million people and the good thing about Asia for us is that it's right on our doorstep, so we're closer than the other Southern Hemisphere competitors we have such as Chile and South Africa," Wesley said.

"In general too, New Zealand's got a fantastic reputation in Asia."

The strong New Zealand dollar against the British pound, the euro and the US dollar seriously reduced grower returns from those markets.

But a weak exchange rate against the Australian dollar has Wesley forecasting a dramatic increase in New Zealand exports across the Tasman during the next two or three years.

Turners & Growers grows apples in 16 different countries.

"We'll soon be growing kiwifruit in the same number of countries and exporting it," Wesley said.

"We're the biggest exporter of asparagus out of Peru into Japan."

Shares in Turners & Growers closed up 2c yesterday at $1.55.