PROTO visits New Zealand!


If China is considered the “motherland” of Kiwifruit, New Zealand is definitely the “Godmother” of the most nutritious fruit there is!

It is then only a given that PROTO, a leading Greek fruit exporter- would arrange a visit to the country that has turned the growing of a crop, along with its packing, storing, shipping and supplying, into a unified procedure, with constant monitoring along the way with one single goal: to deliver the best tasting kiwifruit to consumers worldwide, round the year.

Mentality: the key to success

The ones who created this chain of supply for the best kiwifruit around, are called Zespri –proud PROTO collaborators- and the reason for their success is not only the planning and their detailed procedures but mainly their mentality: they want only the best for their customers and they will not stop evolving until they get it. And once they do, they keep researching to create new varieties that are even better than before.

PROTO has been a trusted collaborator of Zespri for the past two European kiwifruit seasons. At PROTO we aim to do our best for our customers and thus a partnership with Zespri was an obvious choice.

The trip

As soon as our kiwifruit season ended, after slightly over 15.000 tons of Greek kiwi fruit having been packed and shipped, Mr. Alex Protofanousis, co-owner of PROTO, Mr. George Kallitsis, Export and General Manager, and Mr. Nick Pardalis, QA Manager, headed to New Zealand.

It was great timing since the harvesting process was ongoing and the packing houses were operational round the clock to prepare the southern hemispheres' Zespri fruit for the season.

After 3 flights, 25 hours and a lot of patience, the team arrived in Auckland, jumped in a car immediately and drove to Bay of Plenty, the main Kiwifruit region of the country.

A valuable know-how

Along the trip, Mr Warren Short was our guide, a man with vast experience and deep knowledge of the New Zealand Kiwi fruit business. While the weather was not on our side with often swifts between sun and rain, we managed to visit many Hayward and SunGold kiwifarms and witness firsthand the harvesting process. The infrastructure of the orchards as well as the extremely high adequacy of the local farmers were astonishing. The vast majority of the packing houses, by taking advantage of the latest technology solutions in sorting and packing, aided by the heavy fruit whose size rarely drops below 80 grams, were able to pack, ship and store at least 18 tons per hour.

The packing, storing and shipping procedures are all monitored by Zespri and their protocols are followed to the letter. Since the growers’ remuneration comes from a combination of quality, size and durability in storage, all packing houses have developed methods to determine which fruit are suitable for longer storing and which should be shipped immediately.

The trip to New Zealand was a huge success, with the two teams, PROTO’s and Zespri’s, sharing valuable info among each other. And sharing knowledge, always benefits the result: creating the most delicious fruit yet!

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