On October 1st, 2020, Mission Produce officially went public with an initial public offering of 9,375,000 shares of its common stock at an offering price to the public of $12 per share. Michael Browne, Mission’s COO, says: “It’s been a lot of work up until listing day to get this off the ground, but now it’s out there and it’s great to see the excitement here within the company, and of everyone out there that has been purchasing the shares so far.”
Driving the avocado industry
Mission Produce sources its avocados from 11 countries and distributes them to 25 countries around the world and is completely vertically integrated. “We’re the first avocado company to go public,” Browne shares. “There are other companies that work with avocados that are public, but we’re the first avocado-focused company to do so.”
Innovation is one of the cornerstones of Mission’s values, and the public listing will help to continue to drive this, Browne says. “In the late 1980s and 1990s, we were one of the companies that helped to trigger this avocado revolution that we’ve been experiencing in the past decades, and we did so by launching ripening centers. We’re very excited that we’ve been part of this revolution and going public will give us the financial flexibility to continue to innovate and grow. Being a public company doesn’t change what we do every day, but it will allow us greater opportunities to excel at what we do.”
So far, the public’s reaction to the listing of Mission Produce has been very positive. “Being a company that’s been around for nearly four decades gives the investors a lot of confidence in us. They know that this isn’t a speculative stock; we have helped build the avocado industry and will continue to do so, and the investors recognize this,” Browne explains.
Growth on the horizon
The Hass avocado industry has grown a lot in the past years and is still continuing to grow today. “It is a $6.5 billion industry in the United States and the USDA projects it to grow to an $8 billion industry later on this decade. The growth stems partially from increased availability, but also because consumers have started to recognize the amazing health benefits of the avocado. Millennials, specifically, have been pushing a lot of the growth for the avocado category. With this generation now entering the time in their lives when they are starting their own families, it’s a very exciting time for the avocado industry.”
Outside of the United States, avocado consumption has grown too, though there is still much more room for expansion. “We are focusing on growing the European and Asian markets now. They are currently where the US was 20 years ago in terms of consumption, so there’s a lot of runway there for growth,” says Browne.
Peru and California finish up, make room for Mexico
Currently, the avocados from Peru and California are reaching the end of their season, and the market is turning toward Mexico for the winter supplies. “We are just cleaning up the last of Peru. We are getting the last of this product ripened and shipped now. California finished up last week; October 2nd was the last day of packing for us. So now we’ll be focusing on Mexico, where we have two packinghouses and many different partners. We’re very excited about the Mexican crop this year. There’s going to be an abundant volume, and the quality and maturity are looking very good, so we’re in for a nice winter for the avocados,” Browne concludes.