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New Zealanders getting stuck into vitamin C rich kiwifruit during Covid-19 pandemic

New Zealand kiwifruit growers are seeing a spike in demand for high in vitamin C fruits during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Orchardist Jeff Roderick says he's moved 10 per cent more fruit into the market compared to the same time last year. Source: Breakfast

Zespri has reported strong results this season, with it's net profit after tax over $200 million for 2019/20 - up from under $180 million for 2018/19. 

For the season, 75.1 million trays of kiwifruit were exported - 5.7 million more than this time last year and 7.7 million more compared to 2018.

Massive kiwifruit crop this year spurs record revenue, despite Covid-19 worker shortage

Te Puke orchardist Jeff Roderick told TVNZ 1's Breakfast he's moved 10 per cent more fruit into the market compared to the same time last year.

"For 10 years we've been pushing the Vitamin C and health benefits of kiwifruit, but just seeing what was happening overseas and the demand, the Google search for food high in Vitamin C just went up 800 per cent in late February, early March, so we had the product there, we just had to slightly manipulate the story we were telling and probably put it out more on social media.

"It was just growing what we were already were doing as an industry and as a business, and we're lucky that we've got a product that lends itself and is a very high, nutritious fruit."

Mr Roderick also said he was lucky that exporting and shipping still ran "like clockwork", allowing them to get their product into the international market.

Working throughout lockdown, his Te Puke orchard did about 55 days of harvest, ending last weekend.