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Asian markets tipped to drive consumption during record-breaking season
1 October 2014

Asian consumers seeking high quality, healthy food options will be targeted in new campaigns designed to drive consumption and shift fruit during this season’s record-breaking New Zealand avocado crop.

Developing an appetite for Kiwi avocados in Japan and developing south-east Asian countries is seen as critical to overcoming the challenge of competitive market conditions across the Tasman where New Zealand fruit is up against heavy volumes coming out of Western Australia.

Leading New Zealand export company AVOCO, which is responsible for 65% of avocado growers, will be handling the bulk of New Zealand’s crop and director Alistair Young says that while a bumper harvest may sound good, it will test the New Zealand industry and its ability to manage fruit through excellent flow planning and technical expertise, as well as inroads made into Asian markets.

"We're being presented with unprecedented challenges and opportunities," he says. "Unlike last season when all exporters did well off the back of a poor Australian crop, reliance on Australia will not move the volumes we have this time."

Mr Young says adding to the challenge for exporters is the knowledge that consumption in Australia needs to lift by 30% if AVOCO’s 2014-15 targets are to be met. To strengthen the demand for New Zealand fruit, both the industry and AVOCO will be pushing the promotional activities in Australia to the absolute limit.

At the same time, 34% of AVOCO's exports will be going outside Australia through the associated AVANZA channel to reach consumers in developing Asian markets, such as Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia and Japan. New Zealand shipments will also be returning to the US for the first time in many years.

"We have had the foresight to build strong relationships in Asia and the US over the past seasons, so we're ready for the challenge that large crops in New Zealand and Australia present," says fellow AVOCO director John Carroll.

"This push into Japan and Asia has been backed by the largest investment in promotional activities ever. We need to drive consumption and raise awareness of the presence of New Zealand avocados in those markets.”

Activity will kick off in Japan with an awareness campaign around the availability of New Zealand avocados at this time of the year, dubbed 'Shun'- the Japanese word for Season. There will also be a smoothie wagon, dedicated to selling avocado smoothies which have been identified as an effective means to introduce avocados to new consumers.

Avocado sampling will be part and parcel of all promotions across Asia to engage bloggers, media and beauty specialists about the health benefits of the fruit, as well as their versatility in cooking, particularly in the cuisines of the individual countries. There will also be close and detailed work on the ground with retailers and suppliers which will include training in stores.

The national crop estimate for the 2014/15 season is over 7 million trays, with an expectation of nearly 5 million being exported. New Zealand’s previous high was 6.2 million trays in 2011/12. Last season, 3.1 million trays of avocados were exported.

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