Scientists in lab

International marketer of Kiwi fruit Zespri launched its latest scholarship aimed at students studying a Bachelor of Horticultural Science degree at Massey University. The offering is available for up to five students annually with a value of $15,000 for each scholar and is tenable for three years.

Food and beverage company-sponsored scholarships are not a new occurrence in the global food industry, especially in the US. It is often seen as a marketing strategy used to target the youth and has been implemented by the world's biggest brands, including Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola and McDonald's among many others. Zespri's scholarship claims to be motivated by recruiting the 'right people' with the 'right skills' that will help meet the brand's estimated global sales of $4.5 billion by 2025.

"With the industry growing strongly in New Zealand and around the world, we want to attract talented young people with the skills to support our value chain supply premium Zespri Kiwifruit that our consumers demand," said Kylie Phillips, Zespri's Innovation team leader. "This is a really exciting time to be starting a career in the kiwifruit industry."

Professor Peter Kemp, head of Massey's School of Agriculture and Environment, said the brand's investment will help the university produce students with the knowledge needed to excel in the growing industry.