The third edition of the Tropical Fruit Congress at Macfrut brought together experts and producers from all over the world to talk about avocados

Avocados remain the most popular exotic fruit among Italian and European consumers. That was one of the main conclusions to emerged from the third edition of the Tropical Fruit Congress, which took place on 6 May, on the final day of the recent Macfrut trade fair.

Organised by NCX Drahorad, the event brought experts and producers from all over the world to talk about avocados. It was opened by Renzo Piraccini, president of Macfrut.

He commented: “The Tropical Fruit Congress is a good way to bring a very interesting production alternative to the attention of Italian producers, that is, avocado: this fruit is widely available on the market and its consumption has increased tremendously over the last few years.”

When it comes to avocado consumption, Italy’s position is a classic example of this growing trend. Daria Lodi, analyst at Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli (CSO), observed: “Between 2020 and 2021, avocado consumption among Italian households went up by 400g, which, out of a total of 2.5kg consumed, equates to a growth rate of 18 per cent.”

Ernst Woltering, professor and scholar at Wageningen University & Research, pointed out that the Netherlands remains the primary trading hub for avocados in Europe, and the Hass variety accounts for 90 per cent of its avocado market.

Colombia is one of the largest producers and exporters of avocados to Europe. Jorge Enrique Restrepo Girón from the Colombian Hass Avocado Producers and Exporters Corporation, told the congress: “Today, the most accessible market is the US one, while the Chinese market is the hardest to access. Italy has huge potential, but still accounts for 1 per cent of total exports from Colombia. We are now actively engaged in educating US consumers and aim to increase exports to these countries.”

However, there are multiple challenges involved in storing and transporting avocados, due to the fact that it is a delicate fruit and is sensitive to low temperatures.

This is the reason why an increasingly technological and innovative approach is required. Paz García Roque of ventilation and air conditioning specialist Ziehl-Abegg, explained: “Technologies for monitoring air quality in warehouses and during transport are of crucial importance, since they ensure that avocados reach their destination before they are fully ripe.”