Recent reports show that big markets such as China and Western Europe are rapidly developing a taste for avocados. In 2017, China increased its avocado imports by more than 1,000 times and it is projected to continue to grow.
Europe has increased its consumption by 150% in the last decade which is still 3 times less than in the US, studies show - this represents an immense space for development and growth for the avocado suppliers.
The general concern for a healthier lifestyle is fuelling the consumption of ready-to-eat salads, with healthy and rich-in-nutrients ingredients, such as avocado. The restaurants, bistros, and salad bars are significantly contributing to this increased demand for avocado worldwide. All in all, the trend for healthier food and an increased consumption of smoothies and juices, together with a growing middle-class income, already leads to the soaring sales of frozen fruits.
Although the demand for avocados rages on, keeping up with supplies and dealing with a highly-perishable product that has a short shelf life and can lead to food waste, are some issues which has been hindering the development in the sector. However, avocado eaters have proven time and time again that they are not worried about price when it comes to buying their favourite fruit.
"I believe that the IQF avocado seems to be able to address all these challenges. With many more avocado varieties suitable for IQF freezing than for fresh export, avocado growers can significantly increase the supply. A bag of perfectly ripened and flavourful IQF frozen avocado in the fridge is a great way of filling the customer's needs, along with eliminating waste. The consumer is able to take the exact amount needed once purchased, and there is also no waste in the logistics chain," explains Svetlana Plotean from OctoFrost Group.
Ripening an issue for both retailers and consumers
Waste is probably the greatest challenge for the fresh avocado market. UK government’s waste advisory body - Wrap, concluded that in the UK only, 54,000 tons of stone fruits (including avocado) goes to waste each year – out of which 32,000 tons are avoidable.
"IQF frozen fruits, with IQF avocado being no exception, is a natural and immediate solution to the fruit and vegetable waste problem. This also increases potential because only a few varieties are suitable for export, and if frozen by IQF, it would also be possible to export varieties which were only previously enjoyed by locals in the producing countries, such as Fuerte and Reina. These varieties have thinner skins which had made export difficult, but with a larger size and more flesh, making them more profitable per hectare. With the right pre-treatment and optimal IQF freezer, any type of avocado can be transformed into flavorful, natural looking and ready-to-eat frozen avocado." Svetlana said.
"Many avocado growers are simply not aware that avocados can be successfully IQF frozen, however, there are some visionary entrepreneurs who are already supplying premium IQF avocado to some of the biggest retail chains and businesses in the world. Our OctoFrost Link platform has supported these processors to find new business partners which helped some customers even increase the production and sales of IQF avocado by 30%. This market represents immense potential and OctoFrost is there to support and help its customers nurture this potential."
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