Kiwis originally come from China. The seeds reached New Zealand around 1900, where the fruit has been increasingly cultivated. The kiwi also acquired its name relatively late on; until the end of the 1950s they were known as “Chinese gooseberries”. This exotic fruit has increasingly grown in popularity – in Germany consumption of kiwis exploded from 900,000 to 85 million fruits over the period of 1972-1981.
Today, New Zealand and Italy are some of the main producers of kiwifruits, and it is now hard to imagine the fruit aisle without this member of the Chinese gooseberry family (Actinidiaceae). There are some 60 different species of the kiwi plant. The fruits take a variety of shapes, hairiness and colour, and there are also differences in taste.