Aguahass is a young Colombian company whose own fields of Hass avocado are going into their fifth year of production. The firm is now ready and able to start exporting 100% directly. Head of marketing and sales Juliana Flórez explains. “To date, we’ve been exporting through third parties, but from now on we plan to export directly, focusing on Colombian sources.” The European market is the main recipient, although Flórez does not rule out new relationships in other markets. Ms Flórez explains the cornerstones of company management: “We look for customers that are able to develop and can progress alongside us. The main requisite is quality, which can be achieved by following good agricultural practices, through respectful relations with the workers and environmental friendliness.”
Avocados are so popular they’ve recently overtaken sales of childhood fruit favourite oranges in the UK, supermarket chain Tesco reports.
The most recent 52 week IRI retail sales data shows that the UK avocado market is now worth £150m a year while the UK orange market is worth £126m.
In a press release, the retailer said “super trendy avocado” is set to gain even more fans with Tesco’s launch of an avocado spread substitute for butter and margarine. The dairy free spread will cost £1.20 and be available in 400 Tesco stores across the UK.
It said the move follows other recent avocado food innovations made by it, introducing:
- the UK’s first ever prepared perfectly ripe frozen avocados,
- the world’s largest avocado, called Avozilla, which is five times bigger than standard variety.
Tesco spreads buyer Dean Rawlinson said: “Shoppers can’t get enough of avocados which have become extremely popular on account of their great taste, versatility in food and drinks as well as for their nutritional benefits.
“We’re always looking for innovative new avocado products for customers such as the Avozilla or frozen avocado which we launched last year.
“With this, the UK’s first ever avocado spread, our product developers have created a new and exciting way for shoppers to benefit from the excellent health credentials of avocados in even more ways.”
In the last year demand for avocados at Tesco has grown by 40%, making it one of the UK’s fastest growing established fruit varieties.
Avocados are also extremely popular in the form of guacamole, which is an essential part of Mexican cuisine and also as an ingredient in smoothies.
Other Tesco avocado products include: finest* Chipotle, Quinoa and Avocado Salad; Squeezy Guacamole Sauce; and even an Avocado and Oatmeal Facemask.
Tesco Avocado Spread:
- Is a source of vitamin A, D and Omega 3 fatty acids
- Is suitable for vegetarians and vegans
- Contains less saturated fat, calories and salt when compared to butter
Following the World Avocado Congress in Lima, Peru, successfully organised by ProHass, the Peruvian Hass avocado industry is facing new challenges in 2016.
General director Arturo Medina explained that “we don’t know how the El Niño phenomenon is going to affect the fruit. Even so, this year we are hoping for growth of 15%, reaching about 185,000 tons.” This would establish it as the second Hass avocado exporter country in the world, behind only Mexico.
Europe will be the destination for 75%, while 20% goes to the US, and this year they will be present for the first time in Asia as of the beginning of the campaign. In this regard, Medina explained that “we are faced with a challenge as we know there is a demand for smaller sizes, but in Peru we produce bigger ones.”
Emphasising their insistence on complying with the very highest quality requirements, this year they will have a seal of guarantee for importers, ensuring that the fruit they buy from Peru has at least 22.5-23% of dry matter. Although the requirements to be met by the companies are established by the association, a private company has been hired to take charge of analysis, thus guaranteeing impartiality.
The ProHass members are the first to have taken up the initiative because they wish to set themselves apart from the rest, with the result that nearly 65% of the fruit exported will be under this quality seal.
This article appeared on page 68 of issue 142 (March/April 2016) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that edition online here.
Amid a boom in demand for the baby version, Spain is calling for a change to the trade standard for avocados.
It says many Spanish companies are now trading in mini avocados – aka babycados – due to demand for them in other markets. However, Spain has had problems applying the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) standard for avocados to them. That’s because while these kinds of avocados are of good quality, they don’t comply with the standard’s sizing provisions, it said.
In a submission dated March 10, a Spanish delegation proposes that the avocado standard be amended so that its size requirements do not apply to miniature produce. It made the submission in the lead up to the 64th session of the Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables of the UNECE Steering Committee on Trade Capacity and Standards, being held in Geneva April 18-21.
UK premium retailer Marks and Spencer announced in January that it is now stocking mini Hass avocados, half the size of the regular avocado. Grown near Malaga, Spain, they will be on shelves from January-April and sold in packs of five for £2. M&S says the flavour is more concentrated in the smaller avocados, which are “rich, sweet and creamy.” It also reported that last year it sold more than 11.5 million units of avocados, up 18% on 2014.
Fellow UK retailer Waitrose also offers baby avocados. According to its website, the origins for the product are the US, Tanzania, Spain (incl. the Canary & Balearic Is.), South Africa, Peru, Morocco, Kenya, Israel, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.
The banana and the potato are respectively the fruit and vegetable that BAMA Group sells the most of. Here, in the second part of our latest coverage of BAMA, we look at what the Oslo-based trading group is doing in regard to these high volume products.
Promoting the Norwegian potato
One of the largest projects in 2014 for BAMA Industry was the expansion of BAMA’s potato production site in Rygge, which was set to double its production capacity via an increase in area to 5,200 m2 by August 2015. BAMA is adopting a major focus on product and variant development and new technology to further promote the Norwegian potato.
Asked why BAMA had made this a priority, BAMA Group CEO Rune Flaen told ED that: “Potatoes are the largest product group volume-wise and an important category for BAMA, and they are a healthy product. Our strategy is to increase consumption, especially through product development (processed potatoes), new varieties and by inspiring consumers by marketing tasty ways of preparing potatoes.”
In its 2014 annual report, BAMA said one of BAMA Industry’s most exciting innovations last year was the a range of sous-vide potato products which helped boost potatoes sales.
Bananas: ad campaign brings 6% volume growth
The average Norwegian eats 16.5 kgs of bananas each year, making the banana is the most popular fruit in Norway and BAMA’s largest fruit category, representing 25% of its total fruit volume. In 2014, BAMA ran an ad campaigns that included TV spots with simple messages and information promoting bananas’ health benefits and versatility with a volume increase of 6% the result.
Bananas: Increases in sales on previous year
2014: Volume 6%, value 12%
2013: Volume 7%, value 8%
BAMA achieved this growth despite a tough year “reflected in more unstable international container traffic, with slower transports due to route changes, problems with profitability and stricter controls at EU borders.” The situation created “challenges in getting bananas ripened on time, and our ripeners have performed an incredible job every single day to ensure that bananas are shipped out the right colour,” BAMA said in its annual report.
Move to more rail transport
All BAMA’S bananas are imported from South American countries and BAMA says that together with its suppliers, it is taking responsibility for ensuring its production occurs in the most environmentally friendly and sustainable way possible. “All our suppliers are obliged to comply with international GLOBALG.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practices) standards for sustainability and food safety within farming and production,” it said in the report.
It has always transported bananas from South America to Europe by ship, a journey of about nine days. “For many years bananas were transported in container ships to Europe, and freighted onwards by lorry to Norway. In 2009 we changed our transport policy so that the containers were freighted by ship all the way to Norway. Lorries are only used from the harbour in Oslo to our ripening plant. The switch reduced CO2 emissions equivalent to the average annual emissions of 16,800 private vehicles.”
“Rail transport is generally held to be the most environmentally friendly way to transport goods. Our target is for 50% of our incoming transport to be made via inter-modal solutions by 2020. Today this figure is around 12%. When the bananas are ripe and ready to be transported to various parts of Norway, they are increasingly conveyed by rail. In 2014 more than half of our freight was transported to Northern Norway by train. In Costa Rica around 40% of the bananas that Dole produces are transported by train. This form of transport is estimated to be 35% more efficient than road transport,” BAMA said.
Success with ready-to-eat avocados and mangoes
BAMA started offering avocado and mango in 2005 and these products have been a huge hit with its consumers in Norway, where annual per capita consumption greatly outstrips that in the Netherlands and Germany, for instance. BAMA’s avocado sales have increased 400% in volume since then and those of mangos by 600%.
It began offering ready-to-eat avocados and mangoes in 2008, with similar success. Its sales of ready-to-eat avocadoes reached just over 6,000 tons last year, up 170% in 6 years. “Nature’s Pride, our supplier, has been the key to this ripening success,” Flaen said. The Dutch company’s new terminal in Rotterdam is home to nearly 50 ripening sheds, ensuring “the avocados that arrive in Norway have just the right tenderness and appeal.”
sources: BAMA Group 2014 annual report information and phone interview with BAMA Group CEO Rune Flaen
Read part 1: Fresh cuts and berries among priorities for BAMA
In the past, European avocado and mango producers and distributors were used to harvesting, packing and transporting their fruit as fast as possible in order to achieve a longer trading window. But this changed dramatically with new consumer segments demanding higher quality and more flavour.
The development of new techniques to control postharvest ripening led to the emergence of a new category which has revolutionised the subtropical fruit market, under the ready-to-eat banner. Today, the fruit is pre-ripened to reach the point of sale in optimum conditions for eating, giving it greater added value and longer shelf life.
The companies presented here apply pre-ripening in line with a totally new concept; they have created their own brands that recall what eating ‘freshly picked’ fruit used to taste like. In other words, simply delicious fruit, in its maximum expression of aromas and optimum flavours.
Using powerful marketing tools and applying high technology, these companies are able to produce and commercialise a product which previously was only sold in small local markets.
Under the aegis of a premium quality brand, they achieve end product uniformity at point of sale, greater acceptance from customers and consequently better sale prices. The commercial boom generated by the ready-to-eat segment is unquestionably one of the greatest successes in fresh fruit sector innovation.
Read the rest of this article for free on page 86 of edition 135 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine.
Demand is still high but EU imports of exotic fruit fell 8% over 2009-2013 and only those of avocados and guavas/mangoes are climbing, research by Freshfel Europe shows.
In contrast, in the US, the world’s top exotic fruit importer, imports are increasing across the range.
And globally, consumption of exotics is on the rise, although more so for certain products, such as pineapple, mango and avocado.
Exotic fruit production, imports that for total fruit
The Freshfel analysis, presented earlier this month at Berlin’s Fruit Logistica, also indicates worldwide production of exotics has risen 48% in the last ten years, while that of total fruits grew 28%.
Similarly, in 2013, global imports of exotic fruit were 146% higher than in 2002, more than double the change for total fruit.
Both the US and the EU, the second biggest importer of exotic fruit, rely heavily on Costa Rica for their imports, particularly for pineapple.
Exoctic fruit consumption
In the EU, exotic fruit (mainly pineapple) accounted for about 5% of all fruit consumption in 2012, compared to 9% in the US (mainly pineapple and avocados).
Freshfel noted a trend towards increased avocado consumption in north and western Europe, while in middle and eastern Europe there’s more consumption of other exotic fruits, such as tamarinds, jackfruit and lychee.
EU imports in exotics from non-EU countries
Freshfel’s overview of the EU market also showed the main sources of EU exotic fruit imports in 2013:
Pineapples: 83% from Costa Rica
Guavas, Mangoes and Mangosteens: 61% from Brazil and Peru
Avocados: 40% come from Peru
Papaya: 81% from Brazil
Persimmons: 86% from Israel and South-Africa
See the Freshfel presentation
“Exotic fruit – a highlight at POS
Consumption and Trends”