The Hass avocado is the most popular and most widely produced avocado variety on the market right now. While production continues to increase, so does the demand and producers struggle to keep up with the fruit’s popularity.
Mahonri Navarro, the commercial director for the Dominican grower/exporter company American Smiths sees the Green Skin avocado variety as a solution: “The Green Skins are 2-4 times bigger than the Hass avocado but are only about 25% more expensive. This means that if you have to fill up a 25lb box for export, you can do so with a lot less product than when you are working with the Hass variety. This is also great for the consumer because they are getting more product, for less money.”
Familiarity helps with demand
The biggest market for the Green Skins is currently the United States. “The majority of our exports go to the U.S. East Coast. This is because we have good access, logistically, there, but it is also because of the demographics of the population. On the East Coast, there are a lot of people of Latin heritage, and they are already familiar with the fruit. This means that the demand is already there, and we don’t have to introduce the fruit to the people. We don’t need to put much effort into convincing them of the value of the product. The season for the U.S. started in October, but right now the volumes are still a bit low. The peak of the season will be in December and last through February or March,” Mahonri explains.
Europe, on the other hand, is still a relatively underdeveloped market for the Green Skins. Mahonri says: “In 2018, there was a 31% growth in demand for the Green Skins, but only about 5-6% of this was in Europe. We export, on average, about 70-80 containers of Green Skins to the U.S. every month, but only around 11-15 containers to Europe. The Europeans are much less familiar with the Green Skins, and so there is tremendous room for growth in this market. We need to help Europeans discover the fruit and become familiar with it. We believe that once they become familiar with it, the popularity will take off. The Green Skins grown in the Dominican Republic, due to our soil and climate, have a higher percentage of oil than those from other origins. This gives the fruit a deep flavor. Once we can grow their presence in the market, they will begin selling themselves. Our aim is to increase the total growth for the Green Skins at the end 2020 to 35%.”
Mahonri Navarro at PMA Fresh Summit 2019.
Currently, the company cultivates 4,000 acres of Green Skins. “We would like to use this entire area for export to Europe. In the U.S., there is a six-month window for exporting the Green Skins – even though we can grow it year-round – but for Europe these restrictions don’t exist and so we have the potential to export to them year-round. In about a year-and-a-half we will begin harvesting our first year-round crop, and be the first Dominican company to do so. We do grow some Hass as well, because that is where the majority of the demand is currently, and we want to be able to provide our customers what they want. But our passion is to work with the Green Skins, which are native to our land, and we really believe in the quality and the value of the product,” Mahonri concludes.