California avocados enter the Chinese market at the same time as Chilean fruits

"Some Chinese retailers reserve their best shelves for cherries, and that has an impact on avocado sales"

The avocado production seasons in Chile and New Zealand are almost over, and Chinese Spring Festival [1 February, 2022] is almost here. Many Chinese consumers purchase Chilean cherries as luxury gifts for their family, friends, and other relations. That is why some retailers reserve their best shelves to display cherries and promote cherry brands. That has an impact on the sales of avocados. One Shanghai-based avocado importer recently talked about current conditions in the Chinese avocado market.

Most of the avocados currently available in the Chinese market come from Chile. "The Chilean avocado production volume was huge this year. And the Chilean avocado industry had set their eyes on the Chinese market. The season is now almost over. Many suppliers in Chilean production areas stop shipping avocados in the last week of January. Some suppliers will continue until the middle of February. The avocados that arrive in China right now have been harvested during the middle of the Chilean avocado production season. The product quality is stable. The market price is not very high, around 90-100 yuan [14.18-15.76 USD] per 4kg."

In addition to Chilean avocados, there is also a small supply volume of New Zealand avocados. "The avocado production season in New Zealand is almost over. Their price is currently around 70-80 yuan [11.03-12.60 USD] per 5.5kg. The New Zealand avocados stand out in the market because the avocado peel is beautiful, smooth, and shiny. New Zealand avocados have a high oil content. New Zealand obtained permission to export avocados to China in 2018, which is rather late compared to Chile. The overall export volume is still rather small and brand recognition is miles behind Chilean brands."

"New Zealand previously exported avocados to Japan and Korea in particular. This season the production volume was huge and the product quality excellent, so avocado growers started to focus on the Chinese market. They hope to expand their share of the Chinese market." When asked about issues with import, export, customs, and distribution, the avocado importer in Shanghai replied, "we have not encountered any problems with sea freight or customs procedures. We just have to provide the required information to customs authorities and everything is in order."

The end of the avocado season in the Southern Hemisphere, including Chile and New Zealand, also marks the beginning of the avocado production season in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in California. "There are already some avocado growers in California who have begun to harvest their avocados. The California avocados will enter the market in large volumes in the last week of February. However, the customs tariffs for California avocados are rather high."

The Shanghai-based importer also talked about the unique characteristics of California avocados. "Avocado production areas in California enjoy dry weather and abundant sunshine. The avocado peel is smooth and the fruit flesh is exquisite. The California avocados have very few flaws, and the product quality is excellent. Moreover, the California avocados enter the market when the Mexican avocado season is almost over and their product quality is not stable anymore. At the same time, the avocado season in the Peruvian Plateau has only just begun and the production volume is still small. In other words, Californian avocados enter the market when overall supply is limited. The high-quality avocados from California take advantage of a seasonal supply shortage in the global avocado market. Moreover, of all the major avocado production areas in the world, California is the closest to China. This is a major advantage in terms of distribution. Sea freight normally takes 14-16 days, and air freight only 1 day. The avocados arrive fresh and in excellent condition."

When asked about the impact of other fruits, the importer explained, "this is the peak sales season for Chilean cherries and domestic strawberries. And Chinese Spring Festival [1 February, 2022] is almost upon us. Chinese consumers prefer to buy cherries as gifts for family, friends, and relations during this festive period. Many retailers give the spotlights to cherries, and that has an impact on the sales figures of avocados."

As for the future trends in the Chinese avocado market, the Shanghai-based importer said, "the price of import avocados always rises in the period leading up to Spring Festival, but this year that trend has not been very pronounced. Retailers promote cherries and strawberries, and that draws the attention of Chinese consumers away from avocados."

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