South Africa’s avocado producers are predicting a total harvest of 9.8 million 4kg cartons this year, 29% larger than last year, when the crop was hit by severe winter weather.
Buyers can look forward to “marginally lower” prices and more consistent supply patterns than last year, said the South African Avocado Growers’ Association. This is a result of dry weather with enough water for irrigation, said SAAGA, which has unveiled its promotional plans for the summer.
July has been designated Summer Avocado Month and will be the focus for a major promotional programme involving up to 700 regional newspapers and the Capital Gold radio station. Healthy
eating messages will be key. TNS data shows that penetration levels for avocados have risen from 16% in 2000 to 20.8% last year. However, growers are conscious that nearly 80% of households still do not buy avocados and there is much potential for growing the market.
This is one reason why SAAGA has been campaigning to get other avocado producers - including Mexico, Israel, Chile, Peru, Kenya and Spain - to agree to a co-funded year-round generic campaign in the UK that could have a more sustained effect on sales than the South African summer push alone.
SAAGA said it believed an agreement would be reached with some countries this year.
The key trend is the switch by consumers to ‘ripe & ready-to-eat’ avocados, predicted to represent around 40% of the avocados bought this summer.
New SAAGA chairman Claus Lippert said: “Ripe & ready has had a major impact on getting shoppers to try the fruit, resulting in increased penetration and repeat purchases.”
Early arrivals of South African avocados are here and the season will continue through to October. Hass will represent 40% of the fruit shipped to the UK.
Richard Clarke