Israel sends large amounts of mangos and avocados to Europe. Jordi Fijnheer, Sales Manager at FruitPro, in the Netherlands, however, noticed that this year wasn't a top one for either product. Heatwaves plagued the country, and that caused disappointing volumes, especially for mangos. "It was an off-year for both mangos and avocados. But because of the shortages, there's a lot of demand for avocados."
"We're already using young fruit to top up Hass and greenskin volumes on the European market. It's a completely different story than last year. Then we had to work hard to create demand for our Israeli avocados. Now we're in a great position, and it's just a matter of meeting demand. This high demand is partly due to the coronavirus and lower crop yields."
FruitPro works with Galilee Export in Israel. FruitPro offers an assortment of Israeli products like citrus, pomegranates, as well as avocados, and mangos. "Of all the products, avocados top the list with volumes from that country. It's also the biggest grower. We see this in, among other things, an increase in the acreage. The Galilee Export growers' organization gains growers every year too. They want to export avocados to other markets."
"The Israeli season runs from September to April for the greenskin varieties. And from December to May for Hass. The Ettinger, an Israeli variety, is mainly intended for the Eastern European and Russian markets. The Hass goes to the Western European market. Outside those seasons, we supplement our range with avocados from South America and Africa, so we can deliver year-round."
Israel's main strength lies in its season, according to Jordi. "Between November and March, there are actually few alternatives on the market. The European market is then dependent on the Mediterranean region. Israel offers large volumes of avocado, pomegranates, and citrus." Israel comes onto the market slightly earlier than its competitor, Spain. Due to its transportation advantages, Spain can often sell its products cheaper than Israel. "Our products outperform the Spanish when it comes to volume and quality," continues Fijnheer.
Although the avocado acreage is on the rise, that of mangos remains stable. "Mangos, however, have higher yields per hectare. But, avocados still yield more in the end. Israel can also compete much better on the global avocado market than that of mangos. There, it overlaps with other countries. Avocados generally offer more security than mangos as well. Besides the well-known Kent and Keith varieties, there are also several other great types like the Omer, Shelly, and Maya. With their dark color, these are very attractive."
When it comes to picking, packaging, and shipping its products, FruitPro has experienced very little hindrance from COVID-19. "The volumes arrived as usual. We, however, couldn't meet our agreements with Israeli growers. Fortunately, Israeli exports are well organized. In the Netherlands, the avocados can still be packed as desired in flow packs, boxes, or a net. However, the demand for Ready-to-eat avocados remains unabated. We're also busy marketing our own brand, Favor," Jordi concludes.