New Zealand’s avocado industry is celebrating a strong season as exports draw to a close in late February, with 2.7m 5.5kg trays shipped as of 4 February.

Australia comprises the country’s main export market, but it is also enjoying solid programmes across Asia in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Korea and Malaysia.

Thailand is among the more recent markets due to a change in phytosanitary requirements restricting Australian fruit exports.

While New Zealand’s three growing regions can experience very different weather, New Zealand Avocados chief executive Jen Scoular has stated that the current season has been broadly warm, with adequate rain, and ideal weather during the harvesting season.

Scoular added that, despite Australia presenting the largest market for the time being, Asia presented the greatest opportunities for the industry.

“The Asian markets are where we see our future growth, with a huge demand for the best source of safe, fresh, healthy foods,” she said in a company media release.

“New Zealand’s reputation is very positive, with other fresh fruits particularly kiwifruit and cherries leveraging that opportunity strongly.

“We have undertaken initial research into Asian markets and firmly believe avocados from New Zealand can meet the demand from a the large consumer for functional health foods that are produced in a safe system.”

Avocado marketing has been strongly focused on their health properties, which have becoming increasingly important to Asian consumers.

While Asia is seen as the market with the greatest potential, Australian avocado consumption is also increasingly, largely due to a smart marketing campaign including a ready-to-eat programme that capitalises on the modern consumer’s desire for health and convenience.

Some New Zealand avocado growers have struggling with higher operating costs to stay in business and ensure their produce meets the best quality standards.

Fortunately, this season will see them rewarded for these efforts.