Proximity and quality make Spanish avocados desirable in Europe

In 2017, some 460,000 tonnes of avocados were sold in Europe and the forecast for 2018 is to reach 517,000 tonnes. The reason for this is the constant growth recorded in the consumption of this fruit, of which Malaga is the largest European producer, with some 47,000 tonnes, with a stable production for several years. The Andalusian production of avocados concentrates in the province of Malaga, which accounts for 56.4% of the volume.

"It is a pity that we are not producing more avocados, because the consumption is growing non-stop. Spain is losing ground as a producer compared to others like Peru, Chile, Colombia or Mexico, where the crop is still expanding," explains the manager of Tropical Millenium, Miguel Páez, which attended Fruit Logistica, in Berlin, with the aim of looking for new markets and strengthening and renewing existing agreements. Tropical Millenium closed 2017 with almost 28 million Euro in sales.

Páez believes that Europe likes and is interested in Spanish avocados because of the fruit's proximity and freshness. "However, we are not supplying larger volumes. Our production has been stagnating for years and that means that customers have to turn to other producing countries. Even we, as marketers, are already selling more imported than domestic avocados to continue supplying our customers and offer employment all year round," said Páez.

According to the manager of the Reyes Gutiérrez group, Juan Antonio Reyes, the biggest consumers of avocados are Denmark and Norway, with about 2.5 kilos per capita, followed by Sweden, with about 2 kilos, and France, which is the main destination for the Spanish production, with 1.83 kilos. In Spain, consumption only amounts to around one kilo per capita, despite it being the only European producer.

Páez and Reyes agree in pointing out that the increase in consumption and the proximity of Malaga's production to Europe have made it possible for the fruit's prices at origin in the current campaign to climb above three Euro per kilo in the case of the Hass.

However, the high price of Malaga avocados makes them less competitive in the markets, according to Trops manager Enrique Colilles. "There are other countries that produce with much lower costs. Fortunately, we have quality and proximity, but being more expensive does not make us the most desired option, so our challenge is to produce more and at somewhat lower prices in order to stimulate the demand," said Colilles.


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