The Michoacán season is wrapping up at the higher elevations and will officially start the 2020/2021 season on July 1st. “Michoacán produces avocados year-round. We start at the lower elevations and work our way up to the higher elevations throughout the season. Right now, we are wrapping up the season, which will end on June 30th. Then July 1st we will move back down to the lower elevations and officially start the next season,” Aaron Acosta of Villita Avocados explains.
Steady demand in the US market
While Mexico supplies the US with avocados throughout the year, during the summer months, Peru and California are also in season. Acosta explains: “Peru and California have a much shorter operating season than Mexico does, and so they will bring all their product to the market no matter what. In the summer we’re competing not only with other origins but also other products, like the summer fruits.”
Despite the added competition that comes with the summer season, the avocados from Mexico continue to steadily supply the market. “The US market is comfortable with taking in around 55 to 65 million pounds of avocados. Given the current environment, there might be a bit of a surplus volume in the market, but Mexico is committed to the US as their primary destination for avocado. This is because of two main reasons: the infrastructure lends itself really well to the transport of avocados from Mexico into the US, and also because the US consumers really love avocados from Mexico, which is shown by the increase in imports year over year. That is why Avocados From Mexico has been really proactive with reacting to the overall situation by, for example, activating regional coupon programs to help the US consumer by adding more value to their avocados purchases,” Acosta says.
Vertical integration helps mitigate pandemic challenges
Villita Avocado’s farms are located in Michoacán, in the general area where there have been recent spikes of COVID-19 cases. The Villita farms, however, have remained free of the virus. “We haven’t had any positive tests yet, fortunately,” Acosta says, “This is really a testament to everyone being cautious – not just our staff, but their families too. We have of course implemented extra safety measures, but we’re also fortunate that we have very minimal reliance on contract labor. The farms are really our own little community, and this has helped limit overall movement and infection risks and ensured our staff’s health and safety.”
Villita Avocados is vertically integrated, and this has helped mitigate potential issues caused by the pandemic. “We have our own shipping and logistics department, our own reefers, and drivers, which has helped us enormously in the past weeks and we haven’t been having much issues with our logistics. We have been very proactive about integrating every part of the supply chain into the Villita family. We’re also currently expanding our US presence with new distribution centers, which will really help to strengthen our physical assets,” says Acosta.
New guacamole line to be released in July
Villita Avocados has been working on a new direction for their avocados for the past 16 months. Acosta shares: “The Villita Avocado family has prided themselves on being farmers, shippers, and packers of fresh avocados. As part of the natural progression of the business, we’ve now added our own guacamole processing plant which will begin rolling out shipments to the US in July.”
The guacamole line, called We Love Guac, will be made with Villita’s own avocados and the Villita family has been an integral part of the planning and launching of the facility. “We have the largest high-pressure pasteurization machine in Latin America which was custom built for us to achieve the consistency and quality we wanted. We are very happy with the results and are excited to begin receiving the first shipments,” Acosta says.
“The Villita Avocado family is very grateful to the retailers and the consumers for their continued support. They have so many options at the stores, but again and again they prove their love for avocados, and we’re very grateful for their help in growing the US market,” Acosta concludes.