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Chile's avocado has opportunities in Japan

Japan's avocado imports have grown exponentially over twenty years, reaching more than US $ 200 million in 2016, and Mexico accounts for more than 90% of them. The Japanese still don't recognize Chile as a leading provider.

Avocados are not a usual consumption food in Japan. However, Japanese consumption has increased thanks to the growing global trend of consuming healthy and exotic products, to the point that it is no longer uncommon to find them in that market, in online channels and in the usual retail sales channels, where they are marketed by units and not by the kilo, as well as in prepared dishes sold in supermarkets or in some local restaurants.

In the last 20 years, avocado imports have had an exponential increase, going from about US $9.5 million in 1994 to US $212.6 million in 2016. However, most of the avocado is imported from Mexico, which accounts for almost 93% of the market share.

A recent report by ProChile states that Chilean producers have opportunities to gain space in that destination by presenting themselves as an alternative supplier to Mexico, since Japanese are not likely to depend on the provision of a single country, especially in the foods that they don't produce.

According to the report, there are pending challenges, since the quality of the Chilean avocados is still not recognized in Japan, even though they don't have to pay tariffs for this product. "We'll have to identify the origin of the product in their packages or put a sticker on each unit as the Mexicans do so that people recognize them. We'll also have to execute promotions and tastings of Chilean avocados and their possible applications in the Japanese diet," stated the commercial office of ProChile in Japan.

Chile is planning a strategy for this market to present the country as a supplier of high quality avocados with high nutritional value, promoting it as a supplier during the local autumn, which currently concentrates imports of Chilean avocados.

The report also states that "many Japanese people associate agricultural products with each season or annual events, such as Christmas and New Year. The Japanese view autumn as a harvest season and a time to eat well and abundantly... It's necessary to develop a sector strategy to present Chile as a supplier of avocados, especially in the autumn, and it is advisable to identify the product, carry out promotion activities, participate in the events organized by ProChile in Japan, and, above all, associate the product with the country of origin."


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