New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular has overseen the industry almost treble in value during the past 10 years.
Researchers have discovered that NZ-grown avocados have double the vitamin B6 and 20% more folate than those grown in other countries.
Avocados are already a social media star – ‘the Oprah of Instagram’, Scoular says. The value of the NZ industry jumped from about $40-80 million per annum between 2007-08 and 2012-13, to $200 million in the record year last year.
Most of the world’s avocados are Hass, says Scoular. The nutritional composition of Hass, which has been known for years, has always been based on a Californian avocado.
“Plant and Research has looked at a NZ avocado. You know what we found? We have twice as much B6, which is great for energy, and 20% more folate than an avocado from California.”
Folate contributes to normal growth and development in children, and to good tissue growth in pregnancy. Vitamin B6 contributes to normal immune system function and helps reduce fatigue.
Scoular says NZ produces about 1.5% of the world’s avocados, Mexico produces about 55%-60%.
“We are a tiny player but we are making a difference. We are seeing real growth in the domestic market and in our export markets. A lot is to do with what we see being posted on all social media channels – the conversations about avocados.
“They are the Oprah of Instagram – avocados are the most photographed fruit of Pinterest and Instagram.”
She says NZ Avocados is developing some “lovely stories”.
“People want to know about where the avocados come from, about the growers that love going out in the orchards in the morning and looking after their trees and nurturing those wonderful avocados. We are developing lots of lovely stories about our passionate avocado growers.”