With New Zealand’s avocado industry poised to grow significantly in coming years, Avoco is making sure its growers are well-placed to benefit from the opportunities that lie ahead.
Market development in Asia, led by Avoco through its Avanza brand, has been connecting growers with experienced retailers and distributors across key markets, including Japan, South Korea and Singapore, for several years. The company now serves customers across nine international markets.
Time spent in the market means the Avanza brand has established a rock-solid reputation with its customers for reliably meeting supply programme commitments, starting in September every year. Avoco’s attention to supply chain excellence ensures health-conscious Asian consumers, hungry for nutritious, ready-to-eat food options, can rely on the Avanza brand to meet their needs, says marketing and communications manager Steve Trickett.
“It’s that reliability that encourages consumers to repeat-buy, leading to an increase in sales and more consistent grower returns over time.”
Steve says Avoco’s Asian market strategy is one that enables the company to serve the early harvest requirements of growers while future-proofing the industry from challenges in Australia, which is NZ’s largest market for avocados.
Chile is working with Australian authorities to gain market access to Australia at the same time as large-scale Australian growers are ramping up their own domestic production. These changing market dynamics, combined with NZ’s fruit quality challenges in Australia last season, work to potentially undermine the value of growers’ fruit, says Steve.
“There is still plenty of upside in supplying Australia, which remains NZ’s highest paying market. But growers serious about exporting need to seriously consider who they supply.
“Avoco is a proven performer in high and low crop volume years, and has the scale and experienced marketing staff to weather any challenges. We demonstrated this last season, with an industry-leading Orchard Gate Return following a tough season for fruit quality.”
Growers supplying Avoco also benefit from its strong relationships with Australia’s most influential retail buyers and the robust systems the company has in place to prevent poor quality fruit emerging post-harvest ever reaching the market, says Steve.
Last season Avoco handled about 1.9 million export trays of avocados, with 80 per cent shipped to Australia and the rest distributed under the Avanza brand to Asia, including shipments made to China for the first time. Avanza represented 85 per cent of total industry volume exported there.
This season, NZ’s slightly larger national crop volume means Avoco is expecting to handle 2.2 million trays – a volume that once again enables the company to think strategically about its marketing decisions for the benefit of its entire pool.
“Other smaller export companies, in a bid to reverse their own fortunes, are trialling new tactics around pool management.
“Growers should be extremely wary of these options and they need to look carefully at what’s being offered, and how it may impact their financial situation.”
The 2019-2020 season marks the seventh annniversary of Avoco’s formation, following a merger between former export rivals Team Avocado and Primor Produce.