Bumper season for NZ avocados

For fresh produce marketing in Australia and New Zealand
Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Bumper season for NZ avocados

NZ industry announces that it more than doubled its sales during the 2013/14 season

Bumper season for NZ avocados

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New Zealand’s avocado industry has announced it has more than doubled its sales from last season to NZ$136m, setting new records in both export and New Zealand markets.

The return eclipses the previous sales record of NZ$84.1m set in 2009/10 and is far in excess of the NZ$60.4m worth of avocados sold last year.

Jen Scoular, CEO of NZ Avocado, says this season’s success is due to a number of reasons including initiatives which are transforming the industry into a more cohesive and competitive sector.

The Australian and New Zealand markets have performed very well, and discipline by the market players to match supply and demand has played a big part in that.

“Our focus over the last 12 months has been to promote far more collaboration across the avocado industry – with growers, packers, New Zealand marketers, exporters and those supporting our industry. This has allowed us to start addressing and resolving issues that have previously held us back,” Scoular says.

The season has seen the successful amalgamation of the two largest exporters into one exporting group to Australia, New Zealand's largest market, and the continued collaboration of three exporters under one brand into Asia.

In April this year the Avocado Industry Council secured a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries to significantly increase productivity and capability, to increase sales to NZ$280m by 2023.

The five year programme, New Zealand Avocados Go Global, will leverage the growing demand in New Zealand and in Asia for premium, safe, and healthy produce. 

“There’s a world-wide trend towards eating fresh, healthy food and the nutritional benefits of eating avocados are now widely recognised and understood by consumers. This presents us with a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on this season’s sales growth going forward,” notes Scoular.

She outlines that irregular bearing remains a major challenge to being able to guarantee a consistent supply of avocados from year-to-year. This is being addressed with research being undertaken collaboratively between NZ Avocado, Plant & Food Research, industry experts and growers.

This season’s NZ$135.9m return comprises 4.9m 5.5kg trays of avocados. NZ$102.9m worth were exported, while NZ$33m worth were sold in New Zealand. Last year a total of 2.6m trays were produced, totalling NZ$31.7m worth of exports, and $28.7m of local sales.

Scoular adds that this season’s record results also reflect the increased promotional and market development activities to raise visibilities for the amazing attributes of avocados, and to drive consumption.

“Nadia Lim, the New Zealand Avocado’s ambassador, has been a great asset in raising the profile of avocados both here at home and overseas.”

Ashby Whitehead, chair of New Zealand Avocado Growers Association and AIC Ltd, says continued collaboration across all sectors of the New Zealand avocado industry, plus discussions and partnerships with government, scientists and experts from other horticultural fields, will help push industry growth going forward.

“The industry has never been in a better position. We are identifying opportunities, prioritising markets and addressing obstacles on a path to becoming a high value, sustainable horticulture industry delivering real returns to New Zealand,” says Whitehead.

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