Anniversary caps another year of continued market growth for the company

Global avocado company Westfalia Fruit is marking its 75th anniversary this year by reaffirming its commitment to a sustainable future. Founded in 1949 by philanthropist and geologist Dr Hans Merensky, Westfalia is today present in 17 countries across 5 continents, working in partnership with the local communities in which it operates through the Hans Merensky Trust.

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The anniversary caps off an exciting year of growth for the company in India and China, two of the fastest growing avocado markets in the world, as well as Japan. The company is also forecasting continued market growth across the region into the latter half of the decade.

Westfalia entered the Indian market in 2022, quickly establishing itself as the market leader and largest importer of avocados into the country. The company’s sales in India have experienced a more than tenfold increase in the past two years to around 4,000 tonnes. Australia recently got the green light for avocado exports to the Indian market, while South Africa is also close to gaining access.

In China, the avocado market saw a downturn during pandemic lockdowns but the situation improved in 2023 and Westfalia said the market is looking more optimistic. In August, South Africa celebrated after its avocados were granted access to the Chinese market.

Also last year, Westfalia Peru saw a 58 per cent rise in avocado exports to Japan, establishing the company as a leading supplier to the market. In addition, South Africa was recently granted avocado market access to Japan. Westfalia said it would work towards expanding and lengthening the season with fruit from Peru and South Africa complimenting each other in the market.

Westfalia also announced that it has successfully tested a natural method of ensuring food safety within the supply chain, which uses a probiotic uniquely distributed within a water mist circulated in the ripening room.

“The trials found a 65 per cent reduction in micro levels in the testing room compared to the control room,” the company said. “Avocados that had been treated with the probiotic remained mould free for up to 15 days, which resulted in a reduction of internal rot of around 20 per cent. This method has other clear benefits, eliminating the need for chemical cleaning materials and avoiding the need to shut down ripening rooms for cleaning.”

Meanwhile, in Colombia, Westfalia is leading an initiative to care for a nationally protected area on its land in the Sonsón municipality, north-west of the capital Bogotá.

Since 2021, Westfalia Colombia has been working with the local government, community action committees and local producer associations, to protect the Maitamá páramo and restore ecologically important areas within its production farms as well as wider local ecosystems. More than 7,000 trees have been planted and Westfalia Colombia is on track to plant more than 20,000 trees by 2025.

“Westfalia’s community and sustainability projects worldwide reflect our sustainable approach to business and its commitment to ensuring the conservation and management of natural resources as well as ensuring it is a leader in the avocado industry well into the future,” the company said.