The hunt for the golden kiwifruit

The hunt for the golden kiwifruit

Scientists in Te Puke are concocting bizarre and wonderful new types of kiwifruit.

The kiwifruit industry will bring in $2 billion this year, and scientists are on the hunt for the next golden kiwifruit.

The SunGold kiwifruit was developed in New Zealand recently and commercialised by Zespri but has its origins in China. It's now a popular variety for export.

Zespri and Plant and Food Research are looking to replicate that success.

They're working on varieties of kiwifruit that don't look or taste anything like what most New Zealanders grew up with.

There are 100,000 types of kiwifruit growing in Plant & Food’s Te Puke research orchard. There are kiwifruit the size of a peanut; others that taste distinctly spicy.

Bryan Parkes runs the joint breeding programme and is New Zealand's own Willy Wonka. He oversees these weird and wonderful varieties of the fruit.

He says he'd quite like to bring a red kiwifruit to the market.

What about breeding them big? Mr Parkes says they could grow "huge" kiwifruit, but that's not what the customer wants.

Despite the unusual new varieties, there's no black magic involved in the process.  

"They’re all marvels of nature," Mr Parkes says.

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