AVANZA, New Zealand’s most recognised supplier of premium avocados to Asia, is targeting younger, health-conscious consumers as it puts effort into developing avocado sales across the subcontinents.

The 2019-20 export season is in full swing for AVOCO, whose Asian marketing brand is on track to handle approximately 22% of the company’s total volume.

Of its Asian shipments, about 30% are destined for the subcontinents of India and the South East Asian markets of Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

The season was officially launched in Thailand with a promotional event at Gourmet Market in Bangkok, attended by officials including New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Thailand, Ryan Freer.

It marked the start of a 14-week sales programme to the region where AVANZA is targeting consumers aged 22-45, who tend to already have an awareness about avocados, and are health-conscious and digitally-savvy.

To ensure consumers make New Zealand avocados their first choice in an increasingly competitive market, AVANZA is reaching them with marketing campaigns using social media.

Market manager Henry McIntosh says social media allows AVANZA to easily reach and educate a huge audience across all markets.

“We reached over 20% of all Singaporeans with our activities last season, so we’re replicating the campaign in Thailand this season.”

Influencer marketing, in particular, is a very effective marketing tool, he says.

“As our markets mature and awareness about avocados continues to grow through in-store sampling, we begin to introduce other activities to further educate consumers.”

AVANZA is launching new campaigns this month and next, to lift its brand profile and drive sales.

“This year is more about showing the different ways to eat avocados, while also highlighting the nutritional benefits.”

As demand for avocados has steadily grown across South East Asia, exporters from various nations have increased their supply to the region. This season has also seen a lot of smaller fruit from New Zealand being shipped there.

Peruvian exporters have been granted access to Thailand which will affect the early part of New Zealand’s supply season from next year onwards.

In this now highly competitive environment, AVANZA is paying stricter attention to fruit quality in order to command prices at the premium end of the market.

“Peru will ship into Thailand and India at lower values, but we’re not focussed on trying to compete with them,” says Henry. “Instead, we’ll delay our start slightly in both markets to secure better value for our growers.”

India is still a relatively untapped market for New Zealand exporters and this season, AVANZA will supply 90% of the country’s export volume there.

Avocados appeal to wealthier consumers, which bodes well for AVANZA, says Henry.

“India is receiving avocados from multiple origins now and that is positive from our perspective because it all helps to grow awareness and consumption in the long run.

“We expect India will slowly develop into a very attractive, large size fruit market for us.”

AVOCO is expecting to handle a total of 2.25 million export trays this season – up from 1.9 million trays in 2018-19. About 78% of the volume is destined for Australia, which is New Zealand’s highest paying market.