Australian avocados were showcased at yesterday's launch event

Australian avocados have made a grand entrance to the Japanese market, with a high-profile launch event held at the Australian embassy in Tokyoyesterday (11 December).

Government officials from both countries were in attendance, along with Japanese importers and retailers, and representatives from Hort Innovation and Avocados Australia.

The first consignment of Australian avocados shipped under a new protocol arrived in Japan late last week. Sent via airfreight, the shipment was coordinated by Western Australian exporters Karri Country Produce and Advanced Packing, with some of the fruit showcased at the launch event.

Hort Innovation CEO Matt Brand said Australia has built a solid reputation for its premium quality fresh fruit and vegetables in Japan, with the country’s avocados set to enhance this reputation.

“Table grapes and citrus fruits are already established export products in the Japanese market and their market success has demonstrated a willingness by consumers to pay a premium price for high-quality produce,” Brand explained.

“We are confident that this new market access opportunity will enhance trade relations with Japan, and in time, open up market access for other premium fresh fruit and vegetable items.”

Japan relies almost exclusively on imports for their national avocado supply, which it predominantly sources from Mexico and to a lesser extent, Peru, the US and New Zealand.

“Introducing our premium Australian avocados into the marketplace offers Japanese consumers a point of difference to their current supply, which will deepen their affinity for Australian products and strengthen trade ties with local exporters,” Brand added.

The move to develop new export channels is seen as one of necessity by some sections of the Australian industry.

National production increased to 77,000 tonnes in 2017/18, up 17 per cent year-on-year and almost double the 40,000 tonnes harvested in 2007/08. John Tyas, chief executive of peak body Avocados Australia, said the sector was on track to produce around 115,000 tonnes a year by 2025.

“This is 50 per cent more than our current production, and expanding our domestic and international markets is essential,” Tyas said. “It is very exciting for the industry that we can now add Japan to our exclusive list of export destinations for our top-quality premium Hass avocados.”

A story on Australia’s plans to develop the Japanese market for avocado exports appears in the December/January edition of Asiafruit.