New Zealand's fuzzy green fruit will almost always be found in Dan Mathieson's fruit bowl.

Zespri's new executive is a die-hard green kiwifruit fan who eats the fruit with its skin on.

Mr Mathieson said the Zespri brand had become one of the most visible New Zealand fruit brands in the world.

"Offshore you can be assured that when you walk into a supermarket, you are going to see Zespri," he said.


Read more: Zespri wins Exporter of the Year
Zespri's Dan Mathieson appointed kiwifruit body's new chief executive
Kiwifruit in Bay of Plenty could be 'devastated' by climate change

And Mr Mathieson's job as the newly appointed Zespri chief executive meant ensuring there was enough kiwifruit to go around.

In his first week taking over from former long-standing chief Lain Jager, the 43-year-old said his focus was on ensuring the Tauranga-based industry had enough supply to keep up with demand.

"There is really strong confidence in the industry at the moment, and our demand position has really moved ahead of supply," Mr Mathieson said.

However, he said it was important for Zespri to have fruit 12 months a year.

"While New Zealand is the heart and is what drives our growth and creates that great experience around the world, when the New Zealand season is over people are still wanting premium kiwifruit from Zespri.

"So we have got a real focus on developing our offshore production bases as well."

Mr Mathieson said as well as the production bases in Italy, France, Japan and Korea, Zespri was looking at new bases in China and the United States to help fill the shelves year-round.

The new Zespri chief grew up in Auckland's North Shore before moving to Japan where he lived and worked for Japanese organisations in communications and project management for 20 years.

He had spent 15 years in the kiwifruit industry, with his latest role as president of global sales and marketing.

Mr Mathieson said that with more than $150 million invested in marketing this season, having a consistent year-round supply of fruit kept Zespri's brand top of mind for consumers and was critical to maintaining relationships with customers.

"Kiwifruit is just a tiny but fast-growing part of the global fruit trade. Supplying premium quality fruit all year round helps us grow kiwifruit consumption around the world and meet the needs of our consumers who want Zespri-quality kiwifruit 12 months of the year."

Mr Mathieson was optimistic about Zespri's future and looked forward to helping continue the momentum towards doubling global sales to $4.5 billion by 2025.

"It is an ambitious target, and we are now just seven years away, but we have strong confidence in our ability to achieve it," he said.

"What gives us strong confidence in that is we are seeing a growing trend in the global markets for healthy, nutritious food products."

Zespri chairman Peter McBride said Mr Mathieson had an impressive track record over his 15 years with Zespri.

"I am confident he will lead Zespri well and deliver growth and increasing value for our industry and shareholders, building on the strong legacy that Lain Jager leaves behind."

Plan to double European SunGold production

Zespri is doubling its European SunGold production over the next five years to catch up with strong year-round demand for kiwifruit worldwide.

Chief operating officer Simon Limmer said Zespri's 1100 producing hectares of proprietary gold variety in Italy was set to treble to 2900ha in five years' time.

"We have 4600 producing SunGold hectares in New Zealand now. Twelve-month supply is a key part of Zespri's strategy," Mr Limmer said.

"This investment aligns our offshore production with the strong increases in New Zealand SunGold volumes set to double to around 90 million trays over the next five years."

The Zespri Board had announced earlier this year the initial 1200ha of the allocated 1800ha of SunGold licence in Europe would be in Italy. Zespri also procured green kiwifruit from Europe which meets its grade standards.

"Our NZ grower-owners realised the importance of supplying their markets 12 months of the year and set up relationships with kiwifruit growers in the Northern Hemisphere to grow Zespri Kiwifruit in Italy, France, Korea and Japan," Mr Limmer said.