Exports of New Zealand avocados to China have been approved and now Avoco is finalising plans for its first commercial shipment later this year.
It’s likely that Avoco, New Zealand’s largest export supply group for avocados, will send a minimum of 50,000 trays to China after importer-distributor arrangements are finalised next month during a pre-season market visit.
Avoco exports avocados to various Asian markets under its Avanza brand and the company has been preparing for access to China for some time. Preliminary planning has included the development of a market-specific brand name designed to be the exemplar brand from New Zealand for China.
Anticipating access would be granted for 2018-19, the Avanza market management team had already drafted an initial market plan for China involving target volumes, size profile and supply phasing. China, like India and South Korea, will be developed with the view to it becoming a market for premium-quality, larger-size fruit.
The fruit will be available through high-end ‘omni channels’ where shoppers have the option to purchase through either online digital sales platforms or at retail stores.
Avoco’s marketing and communications manager Steve Trickett says China has the potential to be a “significant” market for New Zealand.
“As Asian economies continue to develop, and an increasing number of wealthier consumers emerge, diets become more varied and demand for high-quality nutritious international food grows,” he says. “We project that growth in demand for avocados is only set to increase.”
China currently imports avocados from Mexico, Peru and Chile. However, the unique qualities of New Zealand avocados would give them an appealing point-of-difference.
The unique climate and extending growing season New Zealand avocados are produced in will help to differentiate Avanza fruit in the produce aisle, says Steve. This will be supported by point-of-sale consumer education material covering nutritional attributes, handling and recipe ideas.
“Research has also proven that avocados grown in New Zealand have 20 per cent more folate and twice as much vitamin B6 than avocados grown elsewhere.
“Being the closest and therefore freshest Southern Hemisphere source of avocados to China, the subtle differences in the taste and texture profile of our fruit, as well as presenting consumers with a larger piece of fruit backed by promotional investment, will help underpin our brand story, all aimed to secure a premium place in the market,” says Steve.
Market access to China follows a successful technical audit of the regulatory system for exporting. Cross-border processes were then further tested with the arrival of New Zealand’s first airfreighted consignment of avocados.
The Ministry for Primary Industries and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine had earlier signed the protocol to agree export requirements in November 2017.
Steve says it is exciting that Avanza can now add China to its list of Asian markets for 2018-19.
“Avanza is trusted by buyers in Asia to supply great-tasting avocados and our long-term commitment to Asia and our regular presence there has built up market loyalty.
“The combined efforts of many to win access to China is great news for Avoco growers and the export industry as a whole.”