Jacob Darling - Darling Group

"“There is a level of responsibility as an exporter to manage the price point at retail"

New Zealand avocado producers are heading for a forecast 2.5m trays this season, versus last year’s bumper crop which produced 4.7 million trays.
"Supply is challenging in a down volume season especially as we aim to maintain our market share,” explains Jacob Darling from Darling Group who markets the Just Avocados crop.
Just Avocados is looking at around 330,000 trays this year and 50-60% of that will go into retail chains in Australia.
“Retail in Australia is an important priority in our market mix."

While retailers may be disappointed that volumes won't match last season’s record numbers they do understand the dynamics of the New Zealand crop.
"We communicate with them well ahead of time as do the other exporters from New Zealand.”
Darling explains that the Western Australian crop will be lighter than initially forecast. A situation that, when coupled with light volumes from New Zealand, creates a challenging supply dynamic.
“There is a level of responsibility as an exporter to manage the price point at retail as this does have an effect on consumption and category growth. Historically, when the price has risen above $4.5-$5 per piece at retail there can be a reduction in orders and if prices go too high it can have an effect on the long-term repeat purchases from consumers.”
"The supply shortage this season is creating high values for the consumer. This is an extraordinary situation and not something we see as being the norm come five years’ time."
Just Avocados suppliers grow in three main regions in New Zealand, in the far north, mid north and the Bay of Plenty. The different regions maturing at slightly different times, harvest starts in the far north in September and this season will finish in the Bay of Plenty by February.
Australia remains Just Avocado’s biggest export market, but South Korea is on the rise becoming the second largest export market for avocados from New Zealand.
Darling Group currently supplies avocados to Australia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia.
"We have a strategy to develop Asian markets for the future growth of avocado sales, it is a massive market so we need to focus on certain countries," explains Jacob. "Korea has huge potential and has tripled in the last 12 months in terms of volumes and in value.”
The avocado’s burgeoning popularity in Korea has much to do with the health properties and beauty product applications of avocados being promoted by health, food and beauty bloggers.
Darling Group is working with customers in South Korea to share the story of the health and origin of New Zealand Avocados at retail and through social media.
“We are working with chefs to create recipes which will help consumers understand the use of avocados and are also showing consumers where we grow our avocados and who our growers are through use of video and point of sale information.”

China is on the horizon for New Zealand and will be a major focus for Darling Group and Just Avocados in future seasons.

For more information:
Jacob Darling
Darling Group
Tel: +64 7 549 3027
Email: jacob@darlinggroup.co.nz

Midge Munro
Darling Group
Tel: +64 7 549 3027
Email: midge@darlinggroup.co.nz

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