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Mexican avocado estimates down but market is still steady

California-based grower/shipper/packer Del Ray Avocados imports from Chile, Mexico and Peru and harvests from its own farms within the Golden State. “We pack 1 million-plus boxes here in California of avocados,” said Bob Lucy, president of Del Ray Avocados. The company also holds a partnership in 1,100 acres of land in Peru. 

While conventional is the main business, Lucy says a key element for the company is organic fruit which grows out of California and that’s imported from Peru and Mexico. “It’s a very important part of what we do,” he said. Operations run 52 weeks a year with cold storage facilities located in New Jersey, Florida, Chicago and Texas. 

California avocados receive premium
Supply is currently coming out of California and Mexico. The Mexican supply has been less than was forecast four to six months ago. Lucy said original estimates were that the country would ship 40-45 million pounds a week. Instead of volume out of Mexico being 2.1 billion, Lucy says it’ll be about 1.6 billion. “They’re doing only about 35 million pounds per week. California’s crop this year is about half of what it was last year so the market right now is getting around 43 million a week,” said Lucy. The market is stable and steady, particularly on 48s and larger but prices are split. Lucy says 48s and larger are selling for $50 give or take, and 60s are selling from as low as $33-$35 in Mexico and up to $42-45 in California. “There’s a big gap. The reason California is getting such a premium is that there’s not a lot of California 60s being harvested right now by growers.”

In comparison to last year, California’s crop was 400 million. Mexican volume at this time was 45-50 million, dominated by a lot of big sizes. “This year they don’t have quite as much – it’s more of a balanced size group,” he said. “The prices were considerably lower in Mexico, probably almost half the price.”

It doesn’t quite feel like the market is “vibrant” but a look at the numbers indicates the market is steady. “When you see that we’re selling 40-43 million pounds every week, that’s a pretty good statement of how strong and how big the category is now; we can sort of feel that it’s a little bit slow and we’re still doing (that much volume).”

Peru starts in a month
Peruvian fruit will be arriving in about a month, likely late April. Despite rain, Lucy hopes their growers and shippers can get harvesting in the next few weeks. Consumption is strong for fruit across the board. The category has been growing at about 10-12 percent a year. “We think that will happen again in 2017 if the fruit is there.”

For more information:
Bob Lucy
Del Ray Avocados
Ph: (760) 728-8325

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