The exponential growth of the popularity of the Hass avocado in the past decades has caused an enormous boom in the industry. While it is the most popular, the Hass avocado is not the only avocado variety grown and marketed around the world. Green skin avocados are also growing in popularity, and, as a major grower and exporter of the fruit, the Dominican Republic is working on developing the green skin avocado’s position in the market by rebranding the fruit.
“We started working on this concept in 2018 and have been communicating it to the market since last year,” shares Peggy Aviotti, the market linkages facilitator of the IESC Exporting quality program financed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). “Through consumer focus group testing, we have found that the ‘green skin’ name isn’t very attractive to consumers, and we have re-introduced them under the new label ‘Tropical Avocados.’ It is a collective trademark and also a quality seal: the exporters using this label have to ensure that the product meets certain requirements for food safety and quality standards,” she explains.
Expanding on the West Coast and Texas
Currently, the Tropical Avocados are consumed mainly on the East Coast of the United States, and the goal is to expand the distribution on the West Coast and in Texas. “Currently, this avocado is still mostly consumed by ethnic populations and the consumption is higher on the East Coast. So, there is a lot of room and opportunity for expansion. There are a lot of consumers out there that aren’t even aware that this avocado exists. Tropical Avocados can currently be found in some West Coast stores. WP Produce is for instance servicing 3 retailers in California: Safeway, Albertsons, Vallarta,” Aviotti says.
The Tropical Avocado has a larger size than the Hass avocado, and it also has a longer cut life – meaning that it stays fresh longer even after it’s been cut open. “The brighter green color also got positive feedback from the consumers; it reminds them of the sun and tropics,” Aviotti shares.
Of the coming season, she shares: “The coming season will be the similar than last year. Some areas will produce less because of a drought and some other will produce more because of new plantings.”
Tropical Avocados are also produced in Florida, though due to urbanization their production is declining there.
Currently, there are four producers and exporters that are working with the Tropical Avocado label in the Dominican Republic. Aviotti shares: “Presently only 10% of US supermarkets carry Tropical Avocados. The Exporting Quality program of the USDA is working with ADOEXPO to register a collective quality trademark for Tropical Avocados from the Dominican Republic to ensure compliance with variety, maturity, and quality specifications. Together with the producers and buyers in the US, we are working on expanding the market. While currently we are working with these four companies, any company that meets the requirements for the collective trademark can apply to use it,” Aviotti concludes.