Export season wrapping up, opportunity continues

Darling Group sales and marketing general manager Jacob Darling.

The avocado export season is coming to a close for Just Avocados, with 90 per cent of the supply group’s forecast volume shipped by mid-January.

General manager of group sales and marketing Jacob Darling says programmes to Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong and India are making up the final part of their export season; however, he says a lower proportion of fruit across the industry was sent to Asia this year, with exporters favouring an undersupplied and high performing Australian market.

“Asia continues to be an important part of our strategy and continuing to build relationships with our partners in these markets is critical for future trade.

“This season we maintained a good percentage of volume to Asia while balancing the need to capture the great returns from Australia; we will finish up with around 20 per cent of our total export volume having gone to markets in Asia.”

Prepacks of small fruit was a focus for Just Avocados into Asia as they looked at different ways to deal with the influx of small fruit this season.

“The volume of small fruit has been challenging; however, our prepack programme has been successful and is a strategy we will continue to develop going forward.”

Jacob says that the company is considering further investment into Asia and is working with NZTE to help them validate their market selections and brand approach.

“To get really serious in Asia we need personnel in-market, especially with the possibility of travel restrictions long-term, so that is something we are investigating.”

New facility increasing efficiency

Shipping delays into Australia appear to be the new norm currently, but Jacob says that parent company Darling Group’s investment in a new warehousing and logistics facility in the Brisbane Markets has mitigated some of the severity of issues for Just Avocados.

“The new facility has allowed us to receive and clear product as efficiently as possible under the current conditions.”

Jacob says Just Avocados put an emphasis on air freight to Australia in the latter part of the season as rising maturities increasingly challenged the time frame to deliver a premium product to market.

“All things considered, we are pleased with how the team and all stakeholders have handled the range of challenges that have come from managing supply through a global pandemic.”

Options for fruit post export season

Jacob says that, while Just Avocados is nearing completion of export, they will continue to work with their domestic partner Zeafruit to pack for the New Zealand market.

“There is still fruit out there post export and particularly this season because of the prevalence of small fruit that had been left to size and a predicted strong New Zealand market.”

Jacob says across the industry there will be growers who have more fruit than first estimated and others who might not make it into the export window with the entirety of their crop; however, they still have options to return value.

Avocado procurement for fresh produce marketer Zeafruit Rick Hannay says the company anticipates the New Zealand market will continue to strengthen between now and April.

The demand during the summer months has been consistent with medium and larger sizes likely to attract strong values.”

Rick says Zeafruit has direct relationships with both supermarket chains in New Zealand.

“We have very strong retail programmes in place which allow us to offer consistently strong and risk-free returns.”

If growers would like to discuss options for fruit they still have hanging, they can get touch with Zeafruit’s avocado procurement team Rick Hannay on: 021 242 0994 or Glen Dunseath on: 027 597 4726.


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