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Large fruit sizes benefiting growers
5 December 2016

Optimum growing conditions in the Bay of Plenty combined with excellent orchard management practices has created an ideal supply/demand scenario for avocado export group AVOCO.

Large size fruit (16-25 count) carries a premium export price and growers supplying AVOCO are likely to be well rewarded with the export group reporting that more than three-quarters of its fruit volume is falling into this heavy weight band category for the year to date. 

With larger fruit preferred by consumers in Australia and in growing export markets like Korea, the match up of supply and demand has been pleasing, says AVOCO director John Carroll.

“The five packhouses supporting AVOCO, including our three in the Bay of Plenty, have been dealing with significant volumes of large fruit which is good news for our retail supply in Australia, particularly. Our closest neighbours are more familiar with that size and have come to appreciate they can rely on us to supply a high quality product each and every week.

“Equally satisfying is seeing the growth coming out of Korea where large, ready-to-eat pieces are frequently sought by more and more consumers visiting the supermarket.”

After a short crop of 2.5 million trays last season, about 5.1 million trays will be exported nationally in 2016-17 - exceeding the previous record of 4.5 million trays two years ago.

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

AVANZA is responsible for 85% of all NZ exports to Korea this season, shipping more than 7000 trays a week over a 25-week supply window. The total volume is up 135% on last year.

Shipments to Japan will end this month, completing a 10-week picking season for this more established market which was earmarked for 210,000 trays in 2016 – a 65% increase.

“In a record volume year like this, it’s been critical for us to meet our customer’s expectations, both in Australia and in our Asian AVANZA markets where we have spent a lot of time and energy promoting New Zealand avocados,” says AVOCO director Alistair Young. “That investment in recent years is paying off and this season we’ve received significant orders.

“What’s more, our experience in flow planning and logistics means growers can feel confident about our ability to supply the market with fruit when it needs it most to maximise grower returns as well as respond quickly to changing market conditions.”

An example is AVANZA’s prompt response to changes in Thailand where the population entered a period of mourning following the death of their King, negatively affecting the hospitality sector. A volume of fruit destined for Thailand was quickly redirected to other AVANZA markets.

By the end of December, AVOCO expects to have harvested 70% of growers’ fruit. The remaining 30% left on the trees will be picked for Australia which experiences a shortage of domestic fruit in January and February.

Mr Young says the Christmas/New Year period will remain busy for growers and local packhouses but strong demand for avocados coming out of Australia meant their efforts would be well rewarded when disciplines are maintained. 

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