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Jennie Franceschi - AusPak Avocados
"There is always a limit to what people will pay for an avocado"AusPak is a group of three companies each one has a number of growers giving a wide geographical area for growing avocados. The two main avocado suppliers are Simpson Farms, who grow in the east of Australia and West’N’Fresh who grow in the west of the country, they are supplemented by growers in other parts of country giving a year round supply.
AusPak Avocados is the joint export company, but the companies involved in the group also have their own brands for the domestic market.
"At the moment it is the start of the season in Western Australia and while we have a pretty good crop, New Zealand are down," according to Jennie Franceschi Managing Director of AusPak Avocados. "The market is short and prices are very high, I have never known them to be this high, at this time of year before."
Jennie puts it down in part to global demand in general and the fact is has become a superfood. Although there are decent volumes available in the market, the Australian consumer is used to dealing with larger volumes so it has been quiet tight this year.
"There is always a limit to what people will pay for an avocado," explains Jennie. "You will get avocado lovers who will pay more for them, but they will buy less. It is a case of supply and demand, when the demand is high and supply doesn’t meet it, you try to slow it by putting the prices up, consequently if you have a lot of fruit you put the price down to try to move it. Ultimately, you try to find the right value proposition for customers based on the volumes available."
Western Australia has just started the harvest but have been held up by rain and have not been able to pick. Jennie said it is also possible that other regions finished earlier than usual adding to the shorter supply
"We export into Singapore, Malaysia and also some other Asian countries and Australia is hoping to be able to export into Japan later this year," said Jenny. "We in Western Australia will do our best to get some fruit up into Japan, it will just be to set the market this year and get an understanding of it. It would not be big volumes as it is so short here in Australia, the first year would be a bit of a trial year."
Markets such as Singapore and Malaysia have been taking Australian fruit for years and know they are getting a quality product and are willing to pay comparable prices. For Japan, they may go in on price for the first year as the market is new and the product is not familiar.
Prices are high on the domestic market but Jennie said it is an investment to build new markets for the years to come.
"The avocado market in Australia has been strong for a few years and people have planted a lot of trees which will at one point will bear fruit, so we are working on these new markets and new distribution routes so we are ready. We have to be competitive going into these new markets."
Jennie adds that they already have HPP avocado available in Japan, "We have developed a brand and launched it in Japan.”
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