The stocks of Spanish Fuerte avocados are already very limited a month after the start of the Hass campaign, which kicked off in November. "We are about to finish with the Fuerte avocados, even though we should have availability until late January. The weather conditions affected the flowering and the fruit setting, reducing it by 50%. In Hass, the decline has been lower, of around 20%," explains Óscar Ramírez, manager of TropiCo Spain.
In these circumstances, average prices have remained higher than in previous campaigns. "Fuerte prices have stayed above those of other green-skinned varieties from other origins, given its better quality," he explains. "Right now, the large volumes of Chilean avocados in the market are keeping prices stable, as there is little supply from Israel and Morocco. In the future, Morocco is a country to be reckoned with in terms of volume," he adds.
As far as quality is concerned, Óscar affirms that the fruit that was harvested earlier was closer to the limit when it comes to dry matter, although at present it is at an optimum level. Moreover, sizes are smaller than usual.
While the young Malaga-based company was founded in 2012, its experience with the tropical fruit industry goes back many years. "We started selling our domestic mangoes in 2012; we then continued with avocados, persimmons and cherimoyas and also started importing from the southern hemisphere."
Marketed under the TROPICO brand, 70% of its production is exported, with France, the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and Eastern European countries as the main destinations, while the other 30% remains in the domestic market.
According to Óscar Ramírez, avocado consumption is growing apace in Europe. A few years ago, there was no Hass avocado consumption in Germany, since in addition to the fact that Hass means "hatred" in German, their dark appearance suggested that the fruit was soggy. "Consumers have discovered their better flavour, compared to green-skinned varieties and this is resulting in interesting changes in consumption habits, with most new plantations across the world being devoted mainly to the cultivation of Hass."
According to Óscar Ramírez, much of this increase in consumption is due to the work carried out in the field of ripeness by some operators, including TropiCo. "We ripen both the imports and our own fruit to supply customers with the Ready to Eat concept. Because of the fruit's organoleptic qualities, consumers are being encouraged to purchase them frequently. We do not rule out expanding to more distant countries, but for now we want to grow with our customers in Europe," he affirms.
"The programs that have been proposed to us by our clients are good and we have a very positive outlook for this campaign. We hope there won't be any mishaps. Until the end of April, we will have domestic avocados; thereafter we will start importing from Peru."
For more infromation:
Óscar RamírezTropiCo Spain (Exceltrop S.L.)