Data collected by avocado leader Mission Produce has found that 2020 was a banner year for the fruit, with the US consuming more avocados last year than ever before.
By mid-December, the country was on track to consume 6.25bn avocados during the year, up from just 3.81bn in 2014.
Tis meant that the average person in the US consumed about 8.5 pounds of avocados in 2020, up from only seven pounds in 2014.
Additionally, Mission's data estimated that 71 per cent of US households would have purchased avocados in 2020, with the average household spending around US$34 on avocados per year, up from US$22 in 2014.
Purchase frequency also increased steadily, with the US consumer buying avocados at an average of 11 times per year in 2020, up from eight in 2014.
“Since we introduced ready-to-eat, ripe avocados to the market, we’ve seen a significant and steady upswing in the popularity of avocados in the US,” said Mission CEO and president Steve Barnard. “Ripe avocados mean Americans can enjoy them right away. Plus, avocados are nutrient-dense, versatile, and delicious, and as soon as Americans – millennials in particular – started noticing that, the fruit really took off.”
Growth has been driven by multiple factors, the group noted, including a continued increase of avocado supply in the market, versatility and industry marketing and promotion.
Mission Produce said that it had driven category growth through value-added programmes tailored to consumer needs: ‘Minis,’ Small, but Mighty; ‘Emeralds in the Rough;’ ‘Jumbos,’ More to eat, More to love; ‘Ready;’ and ‘Size Minded.’
Nutrition has also been a factor driving growth. According to a 2019 Mintel survey, over 60 per cent of millennials believe their generation is more focused on health than any other generation, favouring less processed foods with fewer artificial ingredients.
“We’ve seen that as restaurants are closed during the pandemic and everyone is staying home, people are looking for nutritious ingredients that they can get creative with to please the whole household,” added Barnard. “Since avocados fit that need, they’ve become even more of a staple to a large percentage of the population.”