The California avocado season is underway and so far growers have been seeing good quality and a nice range of sizing. Peak availability of California avocados is expected between April and July, with continued availability through Labor Day. Jan DeLyser, Vice President of Marketing for the California Avocado Commission, says: “The distribution of the California avocados will build into peak availability through March into April and will continue through the American summer holidays of Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.”
She adds that in this season to date there have not been any significant challenges. “The rains in 2019 contributed to the California avocado tree health and the quality we have been seeing is exceptionally good. There is a range of sizes available to meet customer preferences,” DeLyser says.
Preference for domestic avocados
With the overwhelming popularity of the avocado with consumers world-wide, global production has increased over the past few years. There are many different origins on the market, notably Colombia which has been making big investments in its avocado production. DeLyser shares: “Colombia can ship fruit to both coasts of the US, so their fruit could be in the marketplace at the same time and in the same markets as California avocados. Historically, the overall limiting factor for avocado category growth has been supply, so we believe that there is still significant room for growth in demand and their volumes could supplement fruit from California and the other origins.”
In addition to the high overall demand, US consumers have shown a preference for locally grown produce over imported produce. This goes for avocados too, DeLyser says. “More than half of avocado shoppers in the US say that it is somewhat or very important that the avocados they buy are grown in the US. Furthermore, among avocado shoppers with a preference for origin, 56% prefer avocados grown in the US, and this jumps to 70% in the West.”
California avocados are also exported. “The majority is shipped domestically, but California avocado handlers do export some fruit. This year it is expected that South Korea will receive the largest share of exported California avocados,” says DeLyser.
Participation in the World Avocado Congress
The California Avocado Commission attends the World Avocado Congress to learn about production techniques and research from other leaders in the avocado industry and to share information and ideas.
This year’s congress was held in Colombia, and of the visit there DeLyser concludes: “CAC representatives gathered information about a variety of production techniques and learned how some other countries of origin deal with issues such as pests and water. The scientific discourse that can occur in events like this can be very valuable.”