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Why the ‘fruit of life’ will continue to grow in popularity in 2019

Additionally, both South Africa and Peru saw a significant increase in volume compared with the 2017 season, causing prices to adjust to the increased in volume.

“Prices were not at their best last year during certain periods,” admits Xavier Equihua, CEO of the World Avocado Organization. “This was due to a bumper crop year for many European supplying origins. These huge increases in volume were not totally unexpected, as many of the larger companies had predicted that Peru would have a late crop which would coincide with other producing countries.”

Xavier explains that, as with any bumper crops from almost any commodity, large harvests can cause excess supply problems in the market, putting extra pressure on the distribution system, especially for smaller handlers of fruit. Despite the fact that avocados can remain on the trees without over ripening, it is a long journey from the Southern Hemisphere to the European marketplace and there is only so much that can be done to stagger exports.

2018 – The Historic Growth for Avocado Consumption in the EU
Xavier continues, “On the other hand we must look at the positive long-term impact the historic 2018 bumper crop had on the market, as avocado consumption was boosted by 35%. Consumers around the world remain increasingly health conscious and aware of what they are putting in to their bodies. As such, versatile superfoods like the avocado remain firmly in favour with most of the general population.

Furthermore, the 2017 and 2018 marketing promotions conducted by WAO in nine European countries not only helped the category in moving the record supplies of 2018, it has also created an environment for the category to be better prepared to move a projected 800 million kilos by 2020-2021 and 1 billion kilos by 2023-2024.”

Unlike the US, which is supplied by three origins, actual consumption figures in Europe are more difficult to gauge as the market is supplied by 12 + different origins. As a result, it proves a challenge for WAO to gauge accurate per-capita consumption figures, but with the help of various sources, the WAO has been able to develop charts that are giving us a better idea than before the organization was established.

WAO 2018 Marketing Promotions
Speaking about the organization’s promotional activity, Xavier explains, “We need to look at the retail trade in future ‘on-years.’  WAO and its members need to be more aggressive in helping retailers further promote avocados.  In 2018, the WAO collaborated with top supermarkets in nine European countries and we look forward to expanding our promotions to broader territories within the EU.”

For the WAO, supplier participation is key, and Xavier highlights some of the challenges the organization has faced in recent years. “Winter suppliers such as Chile are not really participating in WAO’s promotional efforts.  This prevents WAO from offering retailers a seamless 12-month marketing program in Europe, as participation of suppliers is key to the success of marketing avocados during the winter months.  Therefore, it is our hope that the likes of Chile and more suppliers will join forces with WAO to create a robust 12-month marketing program for avocados in Europe.”

Global Avocado Production
Avocado production is increasing worldwide and WAO is looking to increase consumption in countries with low per-capita consumption rates. Xavier comments, “Currently only nine of the 28 countries in the EU are big avocado consumers. These include all northern European countries such as France, Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.  On the other hand, we have countries such as Spain, Italy and the Eastern European countries with low to very low avocado consumption rates. Our aim is to push promotion across these markets in 2019 to boost consumption in these territories, which, in our opinion, have great growth potential. Collectively these countries could easily account for an additional 200 to 250 million kilos of consumption in the future with the right marketing promotions.

But in order to encourage avocado consumption, retailers also must do their part and the WAO is calling on retailers to promote avocados on a regular basis as they do in the US. “Avocados have fast become the fruit of choice for many Europeans, particularly millennials who are very health conscious. We are also seeing a growth in popularity for trends such as veganism, frozen dairy-free treats such as avo-gelato and a greater awareness for the importance of healthy fats, so we anticipate that avocados will remain top of the food agenda in 2019 and beyond!”

The WAO looks forward to continuing its mission of marketing avocados as, what they indeed are considered to be, the ‘fruit of life’.


Author: Nichola McGregor 


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