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Export season picked to smash previous records'
2 September 2016

A mild wet winter, coupled with optimum growing conditions, has set up an avocado export season that's expected to smash previous records and reward disciplined Bay of Plenty growers supplying AVOCO.

After a short crop of 2.5 million trays last season, the national avocado crop in 2016-2017 is estimated to be 5.4 million trays - exceeding the previous record of 4.5 million trays in 2014-2015.

Leading export supply group AVOCO will handle the bulk of New Zealand's crop and this season plans to export about 3.1 million trays, with 83 per cent destined for Australia. The remaining 17 per cent will be sent to various Asian markets, including Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Korea and marketed under the AVANZA brand.

Early season harvesting is underway in both Northland and the Bay of Plenty and will continue until February next year. AVOCO director Alistair Young says that in order to fully benefit from this year's massive crop, packers, growers and AVOCO's export marketing team will be working hard to ensure customers receive a seamless supply of fruit.

"Once again we have big retail commitments in Australia, where sales growth has exceeded expectations in recent years.

Australia is our biggest market by far but we're also very keen to continue developing our Asian markets, where customers highly value New Zealand avocados for their premium quality and taste."

AVOCO, a collaborative partnership between exporters Team Avocado and Primor Produce, has enjoyed three successful seasons since the two companies joined forces in 2013.

Much of the success has come from their forwardthinking and collaborative approach to exporting, disciplines around flow planning, technical support for growers and tlieir expertise in market development. "<* "AVOCO is 100 per cent committed to driving the AVANZA brand," says Alistair.

"While Australia is a high-value market, reliance on this export market would be detrimental to AVOCO's future success. We have wonderful sup port from our retailers there but it's essential we continue to view Asia as a strategic focus to help overcome any future challenges we could face across the Tasman."

The export pro gramme to Asia will start with AVANZA representatives attend ing Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong this month - Asia's leading trade show for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry.

The Asia supply programme runs between August and the end of January and is seen as lucrative widi Asian consumers developing an appetite for high quality, healthy food options.

For the third consecutive year, the AVANZA team will operate a joint trade booth with US-based marketing partner, Mission Produce, with both parties using the trade show to meet with their existing Asian customers and show them how efrectively their partnership provides a 12-month solution to the growing demand for premium avocados.

AVOCO export manager Ted Thomas says it's a chance to highlight how New Zealand's close proximity to Asia and our industry's strict adherence to quality have significant benefits to the consumer.

New Zealand's harvest maturity requirement is one of the highest in the world, with fruit needing to reach a minimum of 24 per cent dry matter before it can be harvested.

This level ensures a creamier, premium avocado and this, combined with New Zealand's close proximity to Asia and strict pick to ship timelines, means AVANZA can deliver avocados with unrivalled freshness, he says.

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Partners: Southern Produce, Primor, Team Avocado

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