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AU looks to feed China's growing appetite for avocados

Five years ago avocados were virtually unheard of in China, but a rapidly growing middle class has seen demand for foreign avocados skyrocket.

Located between the tall office buildings of Beijing’s CBD sits Chaan, a western-style salad bar catering to the city’s increasingly health-conscious army of white-collar workers.

Zhu Hui, 35, is a regular customer of the fruit.

“I first heard about avocados when watching a foreign online video about their nutrition and beauty benefits," she told SBS News.

"Since everyone has become more conscious of their health, avocados have become more popular."

Chaan owner Jiao Jun said he was one of the first in Beijing to serve what's known locally as 'butter fruit’, a gamble that paid off.

“At the start, about five years ago, these dishes didn't sell well," he said.

"Customers just weren't familiar. But in the past year more and more people have approached us asking if we serve avocados."

According to United Nations data, China's avocado market is worth almost one billion dollars.

“We’ve seen an almost ten-fold growth every year since 2012,” Clement Mougenot, an analyst from the China-based Daxue Consulting said.

“It’s likely that we’ll continue to see growth."

While Mexico, Chile and Peru dominate China’s imports, Australian avocado farmers are missing out.

“Australia doesn't have access to China for avocados,” Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas said.

“Avocados are prohibited to enter mainland China from Australia. We're obviously really keen to get access.”

This year the Australian government will begin formal negotiations to access China's market this years.

“A small step forward but a really important step,” Mr Tyas said.

Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas was hoping Australian farmers will soon be given market access to China in the next few years (SBS).

Publication date: 9/14/2017


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