Once again, this past Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast featured an advertisement from Avocados from Mexico (AFM) touting the popular green fruit. This year’s ad focused on the versatility of the product in a funny skit featuring comic Chris Elliott.
Alvaro Luque, president of AFM, said the ad and the social media promotion that has been built around it is designed to build sales for avocados throughout the year. January was a huge month for avocado supplies and February will be similar with many opportunities for promotions, including on organic avocados.
“The market has been decent, but much lower than last year,” said Gary Clevenger of Freska Produce International, adding that the lower f.o.b. prices give retailers a lot of opportunity for promotions.
While organic avocados do command a premium both at farm gate and on the f.o.b. market, he said there is still room for good retail pricing. During January, he said there were many ads for avocados, some of which featured organic avocados. He expects more opportunities for organic avocado promotions moving forward.
Eco Farms, a Southern California grower/shipper/importer that focuses a good portion of its effort in the organic market, also expects good organic supplies in February and beyond. Sales Director Gahl Crane said more and more Mexican growers are transitioning acreage to organic production. And while he hasn’t noted more California growers entering the sector, he said those already certified are adding organic trees to their acreage. And with both the California and Mexico crops larger than last year, it stands to reason that there will be greater organic supplies as well.
Luque said Mexico exported about 1.6 billion pounds of both conventional and organic avocados to the United States in 2017 and he is anticipating a double digit increase in supplies for 2018 at 1.8 billion pounds. The California Avocado Commission announced recently that the state’s avocado crop appears to be around 377 million pounds, which is almost double the 2017 crop.
While conventional promotions in January were as low as $1 a piece or four avocados for $5, Crane said retailers were able to promote organic avocados at 2 for $3, which is an attractive price, especially compared with most months in 2017.
Speaking specifically of February supplies, Crane said there should be promotable volume throughout the month. In January, Mexico shipped more than 200 million pounds to the U.S. market. Typically, post-Super Bowl sales are down a bit so Mexico is forecasting shipments of about 170 million pounds during February. But supplies from California will be increasing throughout the month, and expected to top 3.5 million pounds during the last week of the month, with volume continuing to increase on a weekly basis for the next several months.
Most of the California fruit will stay close to home but the increased volume will allow for shipments throughout the country to retailers committed to avocados from the Golden State.