China's growing health-conscious middle class is fueling a rapid boom in the demand for avocados. Domestic farmers have been rushing to produce seedlings and grow avocado since 2017, aiming to capitalize on the rapidly expanding market, currently dominated by Latin America.
Can the latecomers eventually compete with the early starters? Some industry insiders argued that it would only take three to five years for home-grown avocados to replace the foreign imports in the Chinese market.
Huang Qian, a Beijing-based white-collar worker, began her work day with a piece of toast smeared with freshly made guacamole as well as an avocado yogurt. The 27-year-old young woman was on a diet, and having the "nutrient-boosting breakfast" or a snack with the lush green butter fruit that made her "full and satiated" while also enabling her to take in fewer calories and drop a few pounds of weight.
Huang now spends 150-200 yuan ($22-29) to buy about eight popular Hass avocados per week. And the health-conscious woman, with a salary of more than 15,000 yuan a month, is planning to spend hundreds more buying the high-price imported fruit in the future, after she expands her list of meals to include avocado.
Young and trendy consumers like Huang, along with a rapidly-rising Chinese middle class who are keen to pursue a healthy lifestyle, are driving a boom in China's avocado market which has already surged to more than 30,000 tons - most of which are imported, and a record high revenue of more than $100 million in 2017. The growth rate is also unprecedented.
But what's more inspiring to industry insiders including Zhang Songming, CEO of Hainan-based ForAvo Agriculture Co, an avocado nursery company that was founded in 2017, is the great market potential in China that has yet to be fully unleashed.