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Seasonal demand drives up avocado prices
4 December 2018

Warmer weather in Australia and a seasonal increase in social get-togethers is driving demand for New Zealand avocados across the Tasman.

Now, export marketing group AVOCO is reminding its pool of 800 growers about the value of harvesting later in the season to benefit from the spike in tray values that occurs each year between between Christmas and February.

The market pendulum traditionally swings in favour of New Zealand exporters at this time of year due to a reduction in the availabilty of Australian avocados. This is largely due to  climatic differences requiring the bulk of fruit grown in Western regions to be harvested earlier.

This season is no different and with AVOCO’s export plans for Australia firmly in place, it is urging its growers to work closely with their packhouses over the Christmas/New Year period to ensure there is sufficient fruit available to meet the expectations of key retailers.

Marketing and communications manager Steve Trickett says consumer demand had been fuelling avocado prices in Australia since November.

“Avocados are always a popular companion to the summer BBQ in Australia and this market has firmed considerably in recent weeks as more people make conscious decisions to enjoy avocados with friends and family.

“We expect this demand to continue right through to February so our focus remains on getting as close as we can to meeting the commitments we’ve made to key customers.”

Failing to meet those commitments not only jeapordises the export return to growers but also risks the reputation of AVOCO and its ability to keep its “place at the table” with Australia’s most influential retail buyers, says Steve.

After a short national export crop off 2.2 million avocado trays in 2017-18, New Zealand is likely to export between 3 million and 3.2 million trays this season, however this is well down on the pre-season forecast of 3.7 million.

AVOCO, the industry’s largest avocado export marketer, will handle most of the 2018-19 crop, shipping around 2 million trays. Approximately 81% of shipments are planned for Australia.

The remaining 19% is shipped under the AVANZA brand to eight developing Asian markets, including Japan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand. This season also saw AVANZA export to Taiwan and China for the first time.

Most AVANZA shipments will wrap up this month to ensure enough fruit will be available for the valuable Australian market. But Steve says their first commercial experiences in China suggests it is a market well worth AVANZA’s long-term investment. 

“AVANZA fruit in China commands a retail price around 30% higher than fruit from Mexico and Chile but to justify our premium we need to invest in promotional activity and strategic in-store tastings to capture consumer attention as a new entrant to the market.”

AVANZA also had a presence at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai to increase awareness of the brand among global buyers visiting the New Zealand trade pavilion last month.

About 35,000 export trays were earmarked for China in 2018 but that figure would only grow, says Steve.

“AVOCO growers understand the long-term value that China has in our overall market mix and we’re thrilled to see more than 400 growers register their interest in supplying China next year.

“This will enable us to develop a larger programme for this important emerging market.”

 

 

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