Once again, avocado sales in China are expected to rocket as demand among the country’s middle classes continues to soar. Taking advantage of China’s avocado boom is the world’s leading avocado producer, Mexico. Avocado traders from the Mexican state of Jalisco recently sent a trade mission to China in the hope of securing a share of the lucrative market which for now is dominated by its neighbour, Michoacán. Overall demand in China is still relatively low compared to the US, but this merely underlines the potential for growth in China. Last year, around 36 million kilos of avocados were shipped from Latin America to China and if this figure continues to grow, fewer avocadoes may become available on the US market, which depends heavily on Mexico (80%). Indeed, wholesale avocado prices in the US increased 100% last year due to supply problems in Mexico related to the short harvest. This year, the Mexican harvest appears to be back to normal.
Avocado consumption in the US is about 3.2 kilos per person, compared to 1.8 kilos in 2010, while China’s present consumption is still way below that amount. This year ripening rooms will be set up in China’s large distribution centres to make the fruit even more appealing to the country’s consumers. The market for ripe fruit is growing much faster than that of green fruit.
To meet the growing demand, China is increasing its domestic production of avocado in Guangxi. However, Chinese producers still lack the necessary technical know-how to produce on a large scale. Moreover, the variety of avocado grown in China is mainly the variety similar to that found in Brazil, which contains lower quantities of oil and less flavour than the Hass variety. Meanwhile, Spain is still awaiting an export protocol before it can enter the Chinese market.