A recent report prepared by the Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI), which has looked into the European consumption of avocados in Europe, has concluded that Europe is a market with much room for growth.
"Europe was able to absorb 25% more avocados in 2018 than in the previous year. The total volume imported in 2018 exceeded 600 million tons. This makes avocados one of the fastest growing fruits in terms of popularity," says the report. However, even though the demand is strong, there may be a limit to the European market's capacity to keep up with the pace at which the fruit is being grown around the world.
Consumption to be developed
Compared to other regions of the world, avocado consumption in Europe is still underdeveloped, despite having increased by 110% since 2012-2013. The average annual consumption in Europe is 1.05 kg per capita, while in the United States it is 3.5 kg; in Canada, 2.5 kg, and in Mexico (the largest producer), it can reach between 6.5 and 7 kg.
The Netherlands accounts for half of all avocado imports into Europe, but is also the second largest non-producing exporter in the world. Large volumes are re-exported to Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries, among others.
France is the biggest destination for avocados in Europe, with a focus on the highest quality ones. In 2018, France imported 157,000 tons and had a local demand of 124,000 tons up until May of that year.
The United Kingdom imported 118,000 tons in 2018; 9% more than in the previous year. However, there is now uncertainty due to Brexit and the devaluation of the British pound, which contributes to less attractive prices and a more moderate consumption.
Growth is in full swing here. The promotion of the fruit's healthy benefits, together with its attractive prices, has been key to the rapid growth, making it an interesting place for exporters. In 2018, imports grew by 28% and reached 93,000 tons.
Spain is a producing and consuming country, as well as an emerging hub for avocados. Almost half of the 129,000 tons imported came from Peru, but there has been a significant increase in shipments from Mexico (13,000 tons) and Morocco (10,000 tons), which overlap with the Spanish season.
Consumption in Italy is small (less than 300 grams per capita), well below the European average. In Italy, consumers are sticking to traditional fruits and vegetables, and new products gain ground very slowly.
The volume imported grew by 31% in 2018 compared to the previous year and reached 22,000 tons.