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Education and promotion combine to drive sales in Asia
1 November 2014

Education and promotion is the key to driving avocado sales in Asian markets this season for New Zealand’s biggest avocado exporter.

AVOCO director John Carroll says avocados are still a new food to many Asian consumers so exporters, faced with the challenge of selling record quantities of fruit this season, are taking every opportunity to educate people on their versatility and health benefits.

AVOCO, through its AVANZA marketing channel, recently participated in a weekend of Healthy Living Expo activities in Singapore where NZ Avocado ambassador and Masterchef New Zealand winner Nadia Lim conducted master classes on how avocados can be prepared and consumed. The event was promoted by the Singapore Health Promotion Board and sponsored by AVANZA and the New Zealand Avocado Industry Council.

AVANZA’s Market Manager of South East Asia, Carwyn Williams was on hand to help Lim prepare avocado smoothies which are popular among Asian consumers.

“The AVANZA stand would easily have been the busiest with a huge amount of interest in our New Zealand avocados. There was a lot of interest from people trying avocados for the first time and most of them bought avocados off the stand to take home,” says Carwyn.

Developing new consumer interest in New Zealand avocados across Asia is critical to AVOCO and AVANZA’s marketing strategy for the 2014-15 season.

The national crop estimate for the 2014/15 season is over 7 million trays, with an expectation of a record 4.5 million plus being exported. New Zealand’s previous high was 6.2 million trays total crop in 2011/12. Last season, 3.1 million trays of avocados were exported.

Harvesting for this season got underway in late August and as at October 10, more than  one quarter of growers’ crops have been picked. At the same time, AVOCO had shipped 918,000 export trays, putting AVOCO on track to handle two-thirds of the New Zealand avocado industry’s total fruit for the season.

The bulk of AVOCO’s fruit is sent to Australia – a market which this year is being well supplied by high volumes coming out of Western Australian orchards. To avoid oversupplying the market and devaluing the price of avocados, about 37% of AVOCO’s exports are being sent to developing Asian markets and the US.

John says poor weather had hampered harvesting at the very start of the season but their growers and packers were now consistently hitting their weekly targets for export.

Asian countries, such as Singapore, are considered growth markets for AVOCO, which exports as part of the AVANZA group to markets beyond Australia.

This season, Singapore will receive about 160,000 export trays which is a 128% increase on volumes for 2013-14. Similarly, Thailand, which was considered AVANZA’s “rock star” market last year, is being sent double the amount of fruit this season, with 80,000 trays being shipped under Controlled Atmosphere technology.

This is the first season CA has been adopted so extensively by avocado exporters. Fellow AVOCO director Alistair Young says the CA shipping means avocados can travel long distances and arrive at overseas ports in top condition.

“AVANZA staff have travelled to check the fruit quality of our shipments after they arrive in Asia and the US, and everyone’s happy with how the fruit has travelled so far.”

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