Asda has apparently invested around £350,000 in a new avocado grading machine that uses acoustic sensors to measure the ripeness of the fruit, allowing it to merchandise the product with different levels of ripeness to suit different consumers.
As reported on the BBC documentary Supermarket Shopping Secrets, the Walmart-owned UK supermarket chain recently introduced a colour-coded traffic light system for its avocado range: green for ripe and ready, yellow for nearly ready and pink for ripen at home.
Mark Everett, business unit manager at Worldwide Fruit, which supplies avocados to Asda, told programme presenter Gregg Wallace that the machine – which taps the fruit before analysing the resulting sound – had helped improve the product sold in store.
Asda buyer Damien Grey commented: “This is a tough market and everyone is looking for an edge. You have to innovate in this market, absolutely.”
The UK market for avocados has grown significantly over the past few years. According to ITC data, imports were worth around £190m in 2016, up 35 per cent during the period 2012-2016.