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“Hass is also now the dominant variety, with year round supply."
Huge avocado consumption possibleHass avocados have become a strong item for open market and retail clients for Pacific Produce, according to Rob Cullum. “It’s been a good start to the Peruvian season, with high demand due to lower volumes from the northern hemisphere creating a shortage. Prices are pretty much back to normal now as volumes from Peru and RSA increase ,” he told Fresh Plaza at the London Produce Show. Peru has a very long season and there is still a lot of potential for growth," according to Cullum. Even when prices are high consumption keeps growing – however this is difficult to analyse clearly in the UK market as retailers do not change prices as frequently as on the continent, the difference in buying prices is not always reflected clearly to the consumer.
Countries such as Chile, with huge consumption, also indicate potential for Cullum. “We can’t have huge consumption for every single product, but I believe it is possible with something like avocado. There are big opportunities for growth among those who have never eaten avocado before, and ripening technology is improving too," Cullum notes. “Now consistency, technology and understanding is there for ripening. Retailers can pretty much guarantee a good product,” The health benefits of avocado are increasingly being picked up by the mainstream media so this can only benefit the trade.
“Companies are coming up with good ideas, such as the red light, yellow light and green light system.” The traffic light colouring indicates when the avocado will be ready to eat.
“It’s taking the risk away from the consumer, but the onus is also on the farms. The temptation is there to pick fruit early but as long as this doesn't happen I can see continued growth for the UK.”
When asked about whether there might be excess supply for avocados, Cullum was not overly concerned. “When a product is good, consumption can be driven. So with avocados there is a lot of penetration and potential for increasing demand.
“Hass is also now the dominant variety, with year round supply. Avocado has the advantage where as grapes have so many changes of season and so many varieties. The more you get one single variety of good quality the more you can drive sales and marketing.”
In terms of challenges for avocado sales, the different sizes are an issue according to Cullum, “We can have huge consumption but if people only want certain sizes that’s a problem,” he says. “As avocado trees get older their size ratio changes, the whole profile moves, so it is a constantly changing environment to forecast.
Photo courtesy FPC
After the London Produce Show Pacific Produce was awarded Wholesaler Supplier of the Year 2015 at the FPC Fresh Awards.
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