Demand for California avocados continues to be strong as the July 4th long weekend approaches.
The California Avocado Commission reports that shipments of California avocados for the two weeks ending on July 3 are projected to be up about 19 percent vs. the prior-year period. “However due to lower supply, overall Hass avocado shipments from all sources are projected to be down about five percent or so,” says Jan DeLyser, vice president marketing for the California Avocado Commission.
While the Big Game and Cinco de Mayo are known as avocado-linked holidays, July 4th has also become a top holiday for consuming avocados. “The timing of American summer holidays, particularly Memorial Day and July 4th align perfectly with peak California avocado season,” says DeLyser.
“We anticipate this year’s harvest to start slowly winding down after July 4th through Labor Day,” says Jan DeLyser. Photo: California Avocado Commission.
Earlier start in 2022
As previously reported, harvesting has been heavy from the start of the California avocado season--that heavy harvesting also started earlier than usual. “For that reason, peak volume occurred in April through the July 4th holiday,” says DeLyser. “Last year’s overall crop was a bit smaller than this year. But there was more fruit still on the trees in July and August. We anticipate this year’s harvest to start slowly winding down after July 4th through Labor Day.”
DeLyser adds that this year’s sizing has also been running a bit smaller with good supplies of 48s and smaller.
To date, the California avocado industry has moved significantly more fruit this year than last year at this point. At the same time, the total avocado category volume through June 19 this year is less than 2021 by about 18 percent. Lower supplies from Mexico factor into the category volume being down.
The California Avocado Commission reports that shipments of California avocados for the two weeks ending on July 3 are projected to be up about 19 percent vs. the prior-year period. Photo: California Avocado Commission.
Stronger pricing too
“While retail avocado prices have been high this year, consumer demand has continued, and California avocados still have been able to command a premium,” says DeLyser. This even at a time when consumer dollars are being stretched thanks to inflation. “We have seen before that during times when consumers tighten their spending they still tend to take advantage of affordable luxuries, like California avocados. We can’t predict this will continue, of course. Our consumer communications around the Fourth of July encouraged elevating simple (affordable) American classics with the goodness of California avocados.”
Indeed both F.O.B. and retail avocado prices are up this year compared to last. “Inflationary cost increases, as well as tighter supplies, factor into the pricing,” says DeLyser.
Looking ahead, California avocados could wrap up earlier than usual this year. “No two years are alike in the avocado business. This year, as we go through July and August we expect supplies of California avocados to taper off more quickly than usual,” says DeLyser. “There will still be some late season fruit for select promotions and retailers should work with their avocado handlers for transition timing.”