Kiwifruit [German version]

Table of contents

Product information
  Container transport
  Cargo securing

Risk factors and loss prevention:
Temperature Odor
Humidity/Moisture Contamination
Ventilation Mechanical influences
Biotic activity Toxicity / Hazards to health
Gases Shrinkage/Shortage
Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion Insect infestation / Diseases

Product information

Product name

German Kiwis
English Kiwifruit
French Kiwi
Spanish Kiwi
Scientific Actinidia chinensis
CN/HS number * 0810 50 00

(* EU Combined Nomenclature/Harmonized System)

Product description

The kiwifruit, which was originally native to China and is therefore sometimes known as Chinese gooseberry, belongs to the family Actinidiaceae. It is named after the New Zealand ostrich-like bird.

Like grapevines, kiwi plants grow on plant supports, to which their very long creeping branches are secured.

The berry fruit has an elongated oval shape and may be up to 10 cm long, 5 cm wide and 100 g in weight. It has a hard, inedible skin, which is initially green and becomes brown as the fruit ripens and which is covered in short brown hairs. The hairs serve to protect the fruit from excessive water loss by evaporation. The pulp is soft and contains a large number of small seeds. The kiwifruit has one of the highest vitamin C contents of any fruit (up to 380 mg/100 g).

Kiwifruit are harvested at the preclimacteric stage (picking ripeness), to ensure the longest possible storage and transport life. One way of determining the stage of ripeness is the color and size of the fruit. These days, however, the ripeness criterion commonly applied is the Brix value, which is a measure of the sugar/acid ratio of the juice. New Zealand law states, for instance, that a minimum value of 6.25% must be reached before harvest can begin. The fruit is ready to eat when it yields under light finger pressure [5].

Ripening may be greatly accelerated by storing the kiwifruit in a closed room together with fruit which produces large quantities of ethylene (e.g. apples).

Kiwifruit are harvested by hand owing to their high sensitivity.

The main cultivated varieties are listed below:

„Hayward“ (most common variety)

Quality / Duration of storage

To ensure that the goods are of a high quality, it is important to discard any damaged or diseased fruits prior to transport or storage so as to prevent them from having a negative effect on the healthy fruits. Kiwifruit must be firm and their skin and pulp must not be damaged either mechanically or by rot pathogens. To prevent injury to adjoining fruits, the stem-ends must be removed completely.

Temperature Relative humidity Maximum duration of storage Source
1.6°C 93% 6 months [1]
0 – 0.5°C 90% 6 months [3]
-0.5 – 0°C 90 – 95% 3 months [5]

Where controlled atmosphere transport is used, transport and storage duration may be extended [5]. The following parameters apply in such a case [16]:

Temperature Rel. humidity O2 CO2 Suitability for controlled atmosphere
1.1 – 2.2°C 90 – 95% 2% 5% very good

Intended use

Kiwifruit are mainly intended for fresh consumption, but they are used in fruit salads, desserts, flans, jams and as garnish.


(Click on the individual Figures to enlarge them.)

Photo, kiwifruit

Figure 1
Photo, kiwifruit

Figure 2

Countries of origin

This Table shows only a selection of the most important countries of origin and should not be thought of as exhaustive.

Europe Italy, France, Greece, Spain, Portugal
Africa South Africa
Asia Japan, South Korea
America USA, Chile
Australia New Zealand, Australia

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Because of their high impact- and pressure-sensitivity, kiwifruit are packaged in single layers in wooden, cardboard or plastic trays with plastic inserts. To prevent large weight losses due to evaporation, the fruit is wrapped in perforated film. The individual trays contain up to 45 items and are palletized.

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Symbol, general cargo

General cargo


Means of transport

Aircraft, ship, truck, railroad

Container transport

Refrigerated container with fresh air supply or controlled atmosphere.

Cargo handling

Kiwifruit are highly impact- and pressure-sensitive and appropriate care must therefore be taken during cargo handling. Injury to the fruit rapidly leads to spoilage.

The required refrigeration temperature must always be maintained, even during cargo handling.

In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, as there is otherwise a risk of premature spoilage.

Stowage factor

2.10 m3/t (in trays) [1]

Stowage space requirements

Cool, well ventilated


Fiber rope, thin fiber nets, wooden dunnage

Cargo securing

Because of its considerable impact- and pressure-sensitivity, packages of this cargo must be secured in such a way that they are prevented from damaging each other. Spaces between packages or pallets must be filled, to prevent slippage or tipping. By selecting the correct packaging size or cargo unit (area module or area module multiple), holds can be tightly loaded (without spaces).

Photo, kiwifruit Photo, kiwifruit
Figure 3

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Risk factors and loss prevention

RF Temperature

Kiwifruit require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

A written cooling order must be obtained from the consignor before loading is begun. This order must always be complied with during the entire transport chain.

The following Table merely constitutes an estimate of appropriate temperature ranges. Temperatures may deviate from these values, depending on the particular transport conditions.

Comments Temperature range Source
Travel temperature 1.1 – 2.2°C [1]
0 – 0.5°C [3]
-0.5 – 0°C [5]

The highest freezing point for kiwifruit is -0.9°C [16].

The fruit must be cooled immediately postharvest or the ripening process will continue very quickly.

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RF Humidity/Moisture

Kiwifruit require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Designation Humidity/water content Source
Relative humidity 93% [1]
90% [3]
90 – 95% [5]
Water content max. 83.9% [1]
Maximum equilibrium moisture content 90% [1]

Kiwifruit must be protected from all forms of moisture, to prevent mold, rot and fruit spoilage.

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RF Ventilation

Kiwifruit require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions (SC VII) (storage climate conditions).

Recommended ventilation conditions: circulating air, 60 circulations/hour with continuous supply of fresh air, to prevent excessive concentrations of CO2, ethylene and other gases.

Poor stowing of pallets in containers results in inadequate circulation of the cold air around the stacks towards the walls. The stacks should therefore be arranged so as to leave channels.

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RF Biotic activity

Kiwifruit display 2nd order biotic activity.

They are living organs in which respiration processes predominate, because their supply of new nutrients has been cut off by separation from the parent plant.

Care of the cargo during the voyage must be aimed at controlling respiration processes (release of CO2, water vapor, ethylene and heat) in such a way that the cargo is at the desired stage of ripeness on reaching its destination. Inadequate ventilation may result in fermentation and rotting of the cargo as a result of increased CO2 levels and inadequate supply of atmospheric oxygen (see Ventilation).

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RF Gases

CO2 evolution During storage, kiwifruit evolve CO2 by respiration processes.
Upper limit of permissible CO2 content 5 vol.%.
Ethylene evolution  
Active behavior Kiwifruit produce small quantities of ethylene, their ethylene production rate being 0.1 – 1 µl/kg*h [16].
Passive behavior The sensitivity of kiwifruit to ethylene may be classified as high [16]. They must not therefore be stored together with ethylene-producing goods (allelopathy).

If ventilation has been inadequate (frost) or has failed owing to a defect, life-threatening CO2 concentrations or O2 shortages may arise. Therefore, before anybody enters the hold, it must be ventilated and a gas measurement carried out.

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RF Self-heating / Spontaneous combustion

No risk.

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RF Odor

Active behavior Kiwifruit have a very slight, pleasant odor and do not therefore affect other products.
Passive behavior The cargo is highly odor-sensitive and must therefore not be stored together with odor-emitting products.

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RF Contamination

Active behavior Kiwifruit do not cause contamination.
Passive behavior The cargo is sensitive to dirt, fats and oils. The holds or containers must accordingly be clean and in a thoroughly hygienic condition before loading.

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RF Mechanical influences

Because of its high impact- and pressure-sensitivity, the fruit must be treated with great care during cargo handling, transport and storage, since otherwise it will spoil prematurely.

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RF Toxicity / Hazards to health

If ventilation has been inadequate (frost) or has failed owing to a defect, life-threatening CO2 concentrations or O2 shortages may arise. Therefore, before anybody enters the hold, it must be ventilated and a gas measurement carried out. A CO2 concentration of 5 vol.% is permissible for kiwifruit. However, the TLV is 0.49 vol.%.

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RF Shrinkage/Shortage

Over very long storage periods, weight losses of up to 4% may occur. However, this may be reduced by wrapping the fruit in perforated film.

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RF Insect infestation / Diseases

The kiwifruit may fall victim to the fungus „Botryosphaerea dothidea“ as early as during cultivation. This insect infestation is manifested externally by a small brown area on the skin. Affected fruit must be discarded immediately, to prevent the risk of contamination of the rest of the cargo.

The quarantine regulations of the country of destination must be complied with and a phytosanitary certificate may have to be enclosed with the shipping documents. Information may be obtained from the phytosanitary authorities of the countries concerned.

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