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Experience aplenty with new appointment
19 January 2018

Steve Trickett has joined AVOCO’s senior management team to expand on market development in Asia and oversee grower communications at home.

A familiar face to many avocado growers, Steve has joined the company as Marketing and Communications Manager and is responsible for market planning and performance with focus on new and developing markets where fruit carries the AVANZA brand. He will support the existing sales and marketing team, oversee contestable fund applications and develop AVOCO’s communications and profile among the grower community.

Steve’s 35-year experience in the export sector includes stints at Fruitfed Export, NZ Kiwifruit Marketing Board (now Zespri), Chiquita Brands New Zealand Ltd, ENZA Fresh, Freshmax Ltd and Turners & Growers Exports.

Until earlier in 2017, Steve worked for another Bay of Plenty avocado exporter. He says the move to AVOCO enables him to continue in an industry he’s passionate about.

“I’ve worked with, known and respected the key people in AVOCO for well over 20 years and I’m a strong supporter of the AVANZA model used beyond Australia. So, I am excited by the fact that AVOCO management were keen for me to join them and further bolster what is a formidable marketing team,” says Steve.

“I also welcome the opportunity to be part of a much larger business such as AVOCO that has compelling brand relevance via ‘AVANZA’, the Asian market brand, with recognised market leadership and the best pick of customers across the region.”

Steve is a firm believer that New Zealand’s avocado industry has a bright future. Avocados tick all the right boxes from a consumer perspective and this has fuelled global demand.

“Avocados are nutritious, versatile and tasty. Taste and texture is very important to the Asian consumer especially. They are very aware of the subtleties of every part of the fruit.

“From a commercial perspective, avocados can be shipped by sea from New Zealand to avoid costly air freight. Overall, they’re a fabulous, healthy fruit that has won over consumers worldwide and that demand shows no signs of abating.”

Outside of Australia, Asia is New Zealand’s next biggest market and it’s a region where relationship-building with key customers and distributors is paramount. Steve has worked in the region extensively and says the “New Zealand story” has real currency for export groups like AVOCO.

“In Asia, our fruit is regarded as a great product, it’s come from a great origin and is mostly supplied at a time when competitor supply countries such as Mexico struggle with quality. People also have a favourable perception of our clean, green image.

“Every time you go to a NZ trade office in Tokyo, Seoul or elsewhere in Asia, they say don’t stop promoting the ‘New Zealandness’ of your product. It’s very important and resonates well with consumers.”

With the New Zealand avocado industry inching closer to market access to China, Steve is taking an active role in helping AVOCO lead the way by visiting China to learn more about sales and distribution systems.  

A small industry coordinated non-commercial trial shipment to China is scheduled for this month following completion of on-shore audits by the Chinese authorities. Full commercial shipments are unlikely until the new season starts in September.

While there are huge trade opportunities in China, Steve says it’s critical to first understand the market’s supply chain differences, and to then select which sales channels to pursue in the immediate to medium term.

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