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.”
“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
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