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Cuixiang Kiwifruit Show Signs of Becoming a Leading Chinese Variety

October 13, 2021

In recent years, as the planted area for kiwifruit has been expanding in China, the country’s fruit sector has also been diversifying its kiwifruit varieties. However, for a very long time, there have not been any leading native kiwifruit varieties comparable to Zespri’s SunGold in terms of either quality or market reception. It appears that this situation may soon change as Cuixiang (翠香) kiwifruit from Shaanxi province’s Zhouzhi County have been quietly gaining favor with fruit traders this year.

The harvesting of Cuixiang kiwifruit begins in late August, and farm gate prices for this variety have already demonstrated an upward trend this season, reaching up to $1.55 per kilogram by early October. In some regions, Cuixiang kiwifruit weighing approximately 80 grams were selling for $0.34 each. Although these prices are still not comparable to those of imported kiwifruit, they are relatively high for most if not all of China’s domestically grown varieties. Owing to the strong market performance recently, the supply of this variety has hardly been able to keep up with the demand.

Many green-fleshed kiwifruit produced in China are jokingly described by some Chinese consumers as “stone fruits,” a reference to their perceived poor edibility and lack of ripeness. However, Cuixiang kiwifruit reportedly not only boast an excellent eating experience but also ripen easily, with a sugar content reaching up to 20 degrees Brix, a strong fragrance and jade-like flesh. Their flavor has been characterized by some netizens as a wonderful blend of strawberries, bananas and pineapples.

The strong demand for Cuixiang kiwifruit is largely attributable to two factors. The first is a relatively short supply window that lasts from early September through mid-October. Furthermore, the availability period cannot be prolonged by human intervention or the utilization of cold storage.

Second, a relatively small planting area leads to a limited production volume each year, which is insufficient to meet the needs of the domestic market. It took around 10 years for researchers to breed the variety. In March 2008, it was rolled out to be grown in Zhouzhi County, and cultivation remains highly concentrated within the county.

It is also worth noting that the kiwifruit sector in Zhouzhi has already launched ready-to-eat Cuixiang kiwifruit, where the sugar content, firmness and dry matter levels are rigorously analyzed to ensure harvesting at the optimum time. Moreover, modified atmosphere and ripening technologies alongside cold chain transportation are adopted to ensure the freshness and quality of the fruits and prolong their shelf lives to over two weeks.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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