Thursday, 05 December 2019 09:55

The new green gold?

Written by  Pam Tipa
The New Zealand Ambassador to Colombia Lucy Duncan (left) and NZ Avocado CEO Jen Scoular following the NZ bid win announcement. The New Zealand Ambassador to Colombia Lucy Duncan (left) and NZ Avocado CEO Jen Scoular following the NZ bid win announcement.

The world avocado market is worth at least $9 billion globally and NZ Avocado is confident supply is increasing, but demand is increasing even more, says chief executive Jen Scoular.

“We want to make sure we are continuing to grow premium avocados and deliver those to hungry consumers across the world,” she told Rural News.

The avocado industry is working on a strategic plan to diversify mainly into the Asian markets.

In a season update to Rural News Scoular said the Australian market is going well particularly in retail but wholesale is definitely impacted by supply and demand.

“There is a good Australian domestic crop this year and the forecasting to the wholesale market isn’t always perfect so there are definitely ups and downs of pricing in that market.

“We are also very aware that domestic volumes out of Australia are increasing significantly so we are focusing on our strategic plan which is to diversify some volumes into the Asian market.  

“We need to make sure the increasing volumes out of New Zealand have markets of value in the future so we are working hard with grower levies and supporting exporters in their promotions particularly into the Asian markets.”

Scoular says Taiwan is a market that has increased significantly this season from a small base.

“But that is a market more of our exporters are looking at.  We are still exporting to eight different Asian markets. That is important for us. 

“There have been some challenges in shipping times getting to those markets and we have had challenges with a wet harvest season that packers and exporters are needing to manage.”

Scoular says this is a medium volume year and the export markets are “going okay”.  

“It is not going to be a super high value year this year but it is being managed well by our packers and exporters.”

Scoular explains while avocados in New Zealand previously tended to have a lower production year followed by a high volume year, a new pattern has emerged of low, medium then high years.

In New Zealand this season large volumes are going through the market, she says.

“We have had really positive promotional campaigns by most of the retailers as well as our own new TV commercial telling grower stories.  

“We are seeing probably more bulk buying of avocados as consumers buy three rather than just one at a time.  

“That is all very positive for us.  

“We are happy with the story still coming out in magazines about the nutritional attributes of avocados. And the sharing of stories about how versatile they are and how easy it is to put avocado into every dish and every meal.”

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