The company made solid gains in India, China and Japan last year

Westfalia Asia A

Westfalia Fruit is looking ahead to continued market expansion across Asia in the latter half of the decade as it caps off a year growth in India and China – two of the fastest growing avocado markets in the world – and Japan.

Westfalia entered the Indian market in 2022, investing in local production, nurseries and quickly securing its position as the market leader. The Indian market has grown tenfold in the last few years with consumption increasing from 200 tonnes to 4,000 tonnes.

Last year the company harvested the first commercial crop of Indian grown Hass avocados and more than 200ha in Southern India will come into production shortly.

Thanks to its extended global footprint, the company is able to source from two production areas at any one time, including Tanzania, Kenya, Peru, Chile, and Australia, enabling consistent year-round availability for Indian consumers.

In December last year Westfalia Fruit India imported the first commercial shipment of avocados from Australia after they were granted access to the market. With availability from November to March, avocados from Western Australia fits well into the Indian avocado imports calendar, complementing African import programmes from April to November.

“We’re excited about Indian access for Australian avocados as well as being very close to securing Indian market access for our South African produced fruit. We believe that the demand for both Hass avocados and our exclusive and premium Gem variety will continue to grow on the back of strong per capita income growth and a rise in discretionary spending to 36 per cent in 2020,” said Zac Bard, business development executive at Westfalia Fruit.

“Over the last year we have seen a younger demographic embrace avocados into their diet with a focus on the more densely populated cities. With our investment in local farms, ripening rooms and logistics we anticipate the next few years to be pivotal in the developing Indian market as the appeal and use of avocados widens.” 

Growth returns to China

In China, the avocado market saw a downturn during pandemic lockdowns but since 2023 things have looked more optimistic. In August 2023, South African avocados were granted access to the Chinese market. As the leading exporter of South African avocados, Westfalia Fruit represents half of all exports, and believes this significant development will shape the future of agriculture in the country.

“It’s a triumph for the avocado industry in South Africa and it gives us the opportunity to now grow the market and the local production in South Africa, particularly in the early and late season production areas,” said Bard.

“This is an opportunity for us, as an industry to invest and develop avocado production in South Africa which will directly benefit rural communities, providing jobs, improving infrastructure and overall investment in communities.

As with India, Africa is very well geographically placed to supply China and as a globally integrated company we are approaching the opportunities there in a sustainable and responsible way.”

Westfalia avocados making gains in Japan

Japan’s love for avocados began almost two decades ago when a Japanese chef working in California began adding the fruit to sushi. This trend filtered back to the country which has had a stable avocado market ever since.

In 2023, Westfalia in Peru increased shipments to Japan by 58 per cent establishing Westfalia as a leading supplier to the market. Marketing initiatives sponsored by trade bodies have supported the awareness and consumption of avocados as part of Japanese cuisine. I

n addition, South Africa was recently granted avocado market access to Japan, as a globally integrated business Westfalia’s teams are working together to supply the market 12 months of the year from complimentary growing areas.

“Africa in particular, has been waiting for this opportunity to grow and expand and I think in three to five years, across Asia we are going to start seeing fantastic results,” Bard said.

“Avocados grown in Africa have a hugely positive social footprint in local communities; Asia is the future for Africa and it’s going to be a fantastic story to watch how these markets help the continent improve the livelihood in its remote and rural economies. Avocados grown in Africa and sold in Asia are going to change many people’s lives for the better.”