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Leading kiwi grower-importer launches kids program

Kiwifruit is big business for Stellar Distributing of Madera, CA. A leading importer of Italian and Chilean kiwi for the last two years, Stellar Distributing has launched a kids’ kiwi program to promote healthy eating.

“We have started shipping these new kiwi kid bag styles and the idea is to grab the attention of parents in grocery stores with our convenient pack styles to try to appeal to the health-conscious parent,” said Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager at Stellar Distributing. “They are in select grocery stores now and we are looking to expand.”

From Italy, Stellar was able to ship through May 1. This was mainly due to the long storage life and high quality of the Italian kiwi crops. Stellar has also been happy about comparable pricing and demand of the Chilean kiwis.

“We have had two to three times the volume at this time compared to the last two years, and we have ordered more containers accordingly,” Mr. Cappelluti added. “This is still keeping in mind the summer and Hayward kiwi coming from Chile during that same time with comparable pricing and demand.”

Stellar Distributing has expanded considerably over the last few decades. Annually, Stellar ships around 2.5 million nine-kilo boxes per year. The company started with the California kiwi deal more than 20 years ago and has since expanded into the imported kiwi deal.  

“We have a 54-acre conventional ranch and a nine-acre organic ranch in Madera that supply us with a large amount of the kiwi that we deal in every year, which annually comes out to about 800,000 nine-kilo boxes per year,” Mr. Cappelluti said. “We are as capable as anyone in the United States to supply any customer at any time of the year with kiwi because we have continual supplies whether it be from Italy, Chile or California.”

Stellar has shipped kiwi from New Zealand, Greece and France in the past and is open to doing more with these countries to broaden supply and reach more customers.