According to information provided by ProChile, China has become the ninth largest importer of avocados in the world, with purchases that amounted to USD $107 million in 2017. Chile supplied 50% of the shipments, and if we take into account the market of Hong Kong, it supplied 55% of the avocado.
In a recent LUN report, Maria Bedecarrats, ProChile's international assistant director, stated that China wasn't the only market where there was a high consumption of Chilean avocado, as some markets in Europe were very important for this fruit. In fact, Europe is the main market for this Chilean fruit, she said, while highlighting the growth in consumption of this fruit in emerging markets. Bedecarrats said that Chile was the third supplier of avocados in the United Arab Emirates, and the fifth biggest supplier of this fruit in Japan.
She also stated that Chilean avocado exports in 2017 had amounted to USD $55 million.
In 2017, China imported 16,700 tons of avocado from Chile, 8,800 tons from Mexico and 6,700 from Peru.
Promotion: A great tool to increase consumption
"We have been exporting to China for only 4 years, and in 2017 we became the largest supplier. We have carried out two promotional campaigns, and this year we'll carry out a third one to promote the fruit's nutrition and functional properties, as well as how to handle and consume it correctly," said Francisco Contardo, the Manager of Chile's Hass Avocado Committee.
Contardo said that Chilean avocado exports between 2017 and 2018 had increased by 14%. "Chile is the third world power in avocados, after Mexico and Peru," he said.
Regarding how avocados are consumed, the professional stressed that this fruit was very versatile, and that the promotional campaign they were carrying out was teaching consumers that they could eat them in fresh, in smoothies, accompaniments of rice and pasta, or in salads and sandwiches.
Javier Fuchslocher, the general manager of Exportadora Santa Cruz, said that 90% of the avocado is consumed in solid foods, and that they were looking for ways to adapt its consumption to the palate of Chinese, such as fried avocado.
Contardo said that consumption habits in China were different than in countries like Chile, as consumers there purchased the avocados per unit, and that they were mainly people seeking to improve their health, such as pregnant women, older adults, or mothers who wanted to feed their children better.
Chile is China's main supplier
According to the commercial advisor of the Chilean Embassy in China, Andreas Pierotic, Chile became China's main avocado supplier in 2017.
The Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (Odepa) of Chile stated on January 8 of this year that China became, for the first time in 2018, the main market for Chilean forestry, agricultural, and livestock exports.
According to data from 2018, the Asian country displaced the United States as the main destination for this type of shipments, as it accounted for 20.8 percent share of all Chilean exports of this kind.
That same day, the Directorate General of International Economic Relations (Direcon) of the Foreign Ministry of Chile, stated that Chilean exports grew by 9 percent in 2018, totaling 75.482 billion dollars, the highest figure achieved since 2014.
Source: SimFRUIT according to information from LUN / Xinhua / Odepa