Demand for avocados in Asia remains firm

Interest in New Zealand avocados remains high in Asia despite the setback of a small national export crop. Avoco, which exports to Asia under the Avanza brand, is expected to ship about 292,000 trays outside Australia in 2017-18 – about half of what it sent to various Asian markets last season.

The alternate bearing cycle of avocado trees responsible for the smaller export volume is a frustrating reality for growers and marketers alike. Avoco export manager Ted Thomas says customers throughout Asia were prepared to pay a premium price for New Zealand fruit and it is disappointing there is not more fruit to sell.

“The up and down nature of New Zealand’s production remains our Achilles heel in terms of staying relevant to our customers in Japan. We grew volumes by as much as 47 per cent last season but this season we’re looking at marketing a significantly reduced volume.

“The upside of a short supply window is that values for the Avoco grower should be strong.”

Ted says the creamy taste of New Zealand avocados means they will always compete well against the likes of fruit sourced from other countries, including Mexico.

Unique selling point

“Another unique selling point is research which proves New Zealand avocados are nutritionally better for you than avocados grown elsewhere. This speaks volumes to the typical Asian consumer who values their health and wellbeing.”

New Zealand’s reputation as a supplier of premium quality, nutritious avocados was reinforced at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong last month. Regarded as Asia’s leading trade show for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry, it was a chance for Avoco and its team of experienced marketers to meet with customers and explain how its supply model can meet their need for great-tasting avocados under the Avanza brand.

It was the fourth consecutive year that Avanza operated a joint trade booth with US-based marketing partner, Mission Produce, with both parties using the event to promote how effectively their partnership provides a 12-month supply solution.

Avanza growths

Martin Napper, AVANZA’s market manager for Korea, says Mission’s fruit, sourced from California, would be a helpful top-up to their supply this season. Avanza is contributing about 46 per cent of New Zealand’s total shipments to Korea which is shaping up to be one of Avanza’s best performing markets.

“The market grew by 92 per cent last year and reached 530,000 import trays,” he says. “That growth is continuing with speculation total imports for 2017-18 could reach as high as one million trays.”

Despite handling smaller export volumes due to a low crop year, Martin says it is important to continue to service Korean customers.

“Avanza is committed to growing the Korean market and we can contribute to that goal by ensuring we deliver the consumer premium quality fruit each time so in a high-volume year, we become their preferred choice of supplier.”

Avanza’s shipments to Asia started in September and will continue until the first week of January.

All other Avoco fruit is being shipped to established retail and wholesale customers in Australia which is New Zealand’s highest-paying market for avocados.


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