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Mission Produce expands the distribution of Minis and Emeralds in the Rough lines of avocado

Mission Produce, the world leader in Hass avocado producing, marketing and distributing, has expanded the sales of their avocado lines, Minis and Emeralds in the Rough. “Our concept was to sell the whole tree, reduce waste and be more sustainable,” explains Roberto Rodriguez, export sales manager. “Rough outside, just as flavourful on the inside” – that is the idea we want to convey to our customers. Consumers used to have negative perception of imperfect produces, and we were selling grade 2 avocados to Horeca sector. Two years ago, we started to use value added packaging and market imperfect avocados, explaining to our clients that exterior flaws do not influence the quality and taste of the avocados; and we achieved our goal – the perception of consumers has changed. Another concept introduced by Mission Produce, Minis Small but Mighty, is also in demand.

“We have distributed these lines in North America with huge success and are expanding them to other markets. We displayed the samples at our stand at Fruit Logistica, and got considerable interest from the Fair visitors,” concluded Rodriguez.

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25% drop in South Africa’s avocado production

25% drop in South Africa’s avocado production


South Africa’s booming avocado production experienced a setback in 2018/19, with output dropping 25% to 127,000 tons. The major factors contributing to this decline were the lower yields, premature fruit drop, and the cyclical on-year and off-year nature of avocado production. The fall in output would have been greater had there not been new orchards coming into full production. The country’s avocado production area expanded by 9% to 17,500ha in 2018/19. The main market for South Africa’s avocado exports is Europe (96%). With the rising production, it is of paramount concern now that South Africa’s avocado industry gains access to new markets. The Limpopo province is the largest avocado production area in South Africa thanks to its subtropical climate.

TAGS: South Africa, avocado

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Does eating avocado have health benefits? 20 research papers examined

Does eating avocado have health benefits? 20 research papers examined

Smooth creamy guacamole, crescent shaped segments of avocado in a delicious green salad, St Patrick’s day coloured smoothies – what’s not to love about avocado?

Some foodies claim that avocados are loaded with phytonutrients, vitamins, fibre and protein which help with diabetes, the metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia and arthritis (and lots more).

Does avocado actually have any health benefits or does it just taste good?

What So Good About Avocado?

Avocado (Persea americana) is classified as a member of the Lauraceae family and from a botanical perspective belongs to the berry family. This means that avocado is a fruit and not a vegetable as many people think. Unlike most other fruits, avocados are low in sugar.

Archaeological digs suggest that avocados date back at least 15,000 years. Avocados originally came from South Central Mexico. Avocados were introduced into Spain in 1601 and the USA in 1825. Avocados are now cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical areas.  It is an evergreen flowering tree that can grow up to 20 meters tall.

There are three main varieties of avacodos:

  • Mexican
  • Guatemalan and
  • West Indian.

There are at least 500 named cultivars of avocados and the most famous are probably the Haas and Fuerte cultivars. The avocado fruit can vary in color from green to red to purple and can vary in shape from spherical to pyriform. The fruit itself is used as a human food source and functional food while the leaves, seed and peel are also used for medicinal purposes.

Avocados are best stored at room temperature and can take (on average) five days to ripen. To speed up the ripening process, avocados can be placed in a brown bag with an apple or banana which works a charm.

World production of avocado is approximately 5 million tons per year. Mexico is the largest producer of avocado worldwide and produces about one third of the worlds avocado supply.

Avocado bioactives may be divided into:

  • alkanols (also sometimes termed “aliphatic acetogenins”)
  • terpenoid glycosides,
  • furan ring-containing derivatives,
  • flavonoids,
  • coumarin,
  • peptone,
  • b-galactoside,
  • glycosylated abscisic acid,
  • alkaloids,
  • cellulose,
  • polygalacto urease,
  • polyuronoids,
  • cytochrome P-450 and
  • volatile oils (1).
  • One half of an avocado (68 grams), provides:
  • dietary fiber (4.6 g),
  • total sugar (0.2 g),
  • potassium (345 mg),
  • sodium (5.5 mg),
  • magnesium (19.5 mg),
  • vitamin A (43 μg),
  • vitamin C (6.0 mg),
  • vitamin E (1.3 mg),
  • vitamin K1 (14 μg),
  • folate (60 mg),
  • vitamin B-6 (0.2 mg),
  • niacin (1.3 mg),
  • pantothenic acid (1.0 mg),
  • riboflavin (0.1 mg),
  • choline (10 mg),
  • lutein/zeaxanthin (185 μg),
  • phytosterols (57 mg)
  • high-monounsaturated fatty acids (6.7 g) and
  • 114 kcals or 1.7 kcal/g (2).

Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables

These are worth a special mention as some of the studies relate directly to avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU). ASU is made of one-third avocado oil and two-thirds soybean oil. Unsaponifiable means that the oil blends don’t make soaps when added to potassium hydroxide.

Is There Any Research?

There are 1246 publications relating to avocado, which includes 33 clinical trials. Let’s compare this to another fruit that is sometimes mistaken as a vegetable, tomatoes. There are over 22,000 publications on tomatoes which includes over 2000 clinical trials.

Is It Really So Good For Healthy Fats?

Over the last few years, we have revised our attitude to fats and what constitutes a healthy fat. We are moving away from a focus on low fat and are moving towards healthy fats. Fats accounts for approximately one third of the standard American diet and play a key role in our physiology and biochemistry.

There are four main types of fats:

  1. triglycerides which are composed of three fatty acid chains that are chemically bound to a glycerol molecule and account for 95% of dietary fats
  2. saturated fatty acids which lack double bonds in the fatty acid chain which makes them solid at room temperature and less susceptible to oxidation
  3. mono-unsaturated fatty acids contain one double bond in their long carbon chain and are liquid at room temperature
  4. polyunsaturated fatty acids contain two or more double bonds in their long carbon chain, are liquid at room temperature and at susceptible to oxidation.

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats. Diets rich in monounsaturated fat such as the Mediterranean diet are associated with decreased mortality. That is the theory, what about the evidence?

Mexican investigators examined the effects of avocado on plasma lipid concentrations in 16 healthy volunteers. This was a three phase study .

Phase one: volunteers consumed a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (75% of the total fat content came from avocado) and with a restriction of saturated fatty acids.

Phase two: subjects ate as they wished, with the addition of avocado.

Phase three: subjects consumed a low fat diet, without avocado.

Each phase lasted for two week. The study found that avocado was a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, without any undesirable effects on HDL and triacylglycerols.

Australian investigators evaluated the effects of either a diet:

  • high in monounsaturated fatty acids,
  • enriched with avocado or
  • a high-complex-carbohydrate diet on blood lipid concentrations.

The avocado arm was significantly more effective in decreasing total cholesterol, and, unlike the high carbohydrate arm did not decrease HDL concentrations .

A total of 13 patients with dyslipidemia were included in a trial in Mexico comparing:

  • a vegetable diet,
  • a diet with 60% carbohydrate, 10% protein and 30% lipids (75% of the lipids were supplied by avocado) or
  • an avocado-free diet.

The study showed that all three diets reduced HDL level. A low-fat, carbohydrate rich diet decreased LDL and this was not corrected by the addition of avocado. The authors concluded that to obtain the beneficial effects of avocado, a lower amount of carbohydrate and polyunsaturated fatty acids are needed .

A second study from the same Mexican group of investigators enrolled 16 patients with dyslipidemia  in a cross-over study . One option involved 30% fat, with 75% of the total fat coming from avocado, and a restriction of saturated fatty acids. The other option involved low saturated fatty acids without avocado. As an added quality measure, patients were observed consuming their meals at a clinical trial unit, though of course we do not know what patients ate outside of this observed meal time.

Each diet period lasted for four weeks. Significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were noted in both arms of the study. The avocado arm reduced triglycerides while the avocado-free arm increased triglycerides. The authors concluded that avocado is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids and offers some advantage over a low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diet.

In another study, 61 volunteers participated in a randomized control study . Group one consumed 200 grams a day of avocado (30.6 grams of fat) which substituted for 30 grams of other fats. The control group excluded avocado from their diet. A total of 55 subjects completed the study. Anthropometric measurements were taken (body mass, body mass index, percentage fat) and decreased significantly in both groups and the difference was similar in both groups, which dispels the myth that avocados are fattening.

However the caveat here is that avocado needs to be substituted for an equivalent amount of dietary fat. There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of total cholesterol, HDL, hypertension or blood pressure in an energy restricted diet for six weeks.

Bottom Line

Avocados are a good source of healthy fats. However, it is imperative that avocados replace other fat sources (or is a food swap) and not an addition to the diet.

Is It Really So Good For Protein?

Not really. Avocados contain 2.23gm of protein per 100gm which compares poorly to a 100gm portion of chicken which contains 14.73 gm of protein.

Bottom Line

Avocados are not the best source of protein on a weight for weight basis.

Do It’s “Phytonutrients” and “Carotenoids” Matter?

Phytonutrients are plant derived compounds which include carotenoids, lycopene, resveratrol and phytosterols that are thought to have health-protecting qualities.

Carotenoids are a subclass of phytonutrients and are a group of colored fat soluble pigments.

Avocados are a rich source of phytosterols and stack up well against strawberries weight for weight. Avocados offer 57mg of phytosterols per 68mg as compared to 8mg per 68mg of strawberries.

Bottom Line

Avocados are a good source of phytonutrients which are known to offer health benefits.

Is Eating Avocados Good For Heart Health?

UCLA researchers enrolled eleven healthy subjects who on two separate occasions consumed either a 250 gm hamburger patty alone (436 cal and 25 g fat) or together with 68 grams of avocado flesh (an additional 114 cal and 11 g of fat for a total of 550 cal and 36 g fat), a common culinary combination, to assess effects on vascular health .

The addition of the avocado to the hamburger meat protected against vasoconstriction and reduced pro inflammatory NF-kappa B and interleukin 6. The authors concluded that adding Hass avocado to a hamburger patty offered  beneficial anti-inflammatory and vascular health effects.

Bottom Line

Avocados seem to confer heart health benefits. That is not to say that avocados can replace you heart medications . Based on this study, if I were a beef burger eating carnivore, I would absolutely add some avocado as it would taste great and might just offer health benefits. Ideally you would replace the burger with the avocado (just saying).

Does It Reduce Risk of Metabolic Syndrome?

A group of Mexican investigators looked at 12 women with noninsulin-dependent diabetes. They were assigned to either a diet high in monounsaturated fatty acids, or complex carbohydrates for four weeks. Following four weeks of the assigned diet, patients followed the American Diabetes Association isocaloric diet for a further four weeks and then embarked on the alternate diet regimen to that taken in phase one.

Both diets resulted in similar glycemic control and minor changes in cholesterol. The monounsaturated fatty acid diet was associate with a greater decrease in triglycerides (20% versus 7% in the high-carbohydrate group).

A comprehensive study on avocado consumption and the metabolic syndrome was published in 2103 .

The study evaluated avocado consumption and diet quality, energy and nutrient intakes, body weight and metabolic syndrome risk factors in a nationally representative sample of US adults.

NHANES is a comprehensive project being carried out  by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the aim of collecting information on the health and nutritional status of a nationally represented cross-sectional sample of the total civilian, non-institutionalized US population.

Body weight, BMI, and waist circumference were significantly lower (p < 0.01), and HDL-C was higher (p < 0.01) in avocado consumers. The odds ratio for metabolic syndrome was 50% lower in avocado consumers vs. non-consumers.

A significant potential confounder in the study was the fact that avocado consumers had significantly higher intakes of vegetables (p < 0.05)

This means that avocado may just be a marker of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle and that the health benefits may be due to other lifestyle factors.

Bottom Line

The positive effects of avocados on the metabolic syndrome may be confounded by the fact that avocado eaters tended to have a healthier diet in general.

Does It Prevent Cancer?

Avocados contain a number of bioactive phytochemicals including carotenoids, terpenoids, D-mannoheptulose, persenone A and B, phenols, and glutathione that have been reported to have anti-carcinogenic properties (2).

However, there is little translational research on this topic.

Phytochemicals extracted from the avocado fruit selectively induce cell cycle arrest, inhibit growth, and induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancer cell lines.

Bottom Line

Avocados contain a wide range of compounds that should help protect against cancer but this is just all theory at this stage and as we know theory does not always translate into reality.

Does It Improve Digestion?

There are no human clinical studies looking at avocado for constipation, diarrhoea or digestive issues.

A study in Wistar rats showed that  the chloroform-methanol extract of the leaves of avocado possesses significant anti-diarrhoeal effect and may be a potent source of anti-diarrhoeal drug(s) in future .

An in vitro study suggested that extract of avocado can help eradicate Helicobacter which are the causative agent of peptic ulcer disease.

Bottom Line

There are no human studies looking at avocados for digestive health.

Is It Good For Skin, Eyes or Hair?

German investigators compared a vitamin B12 cream containing avocado with a vitamin D3 cream in 13 adults with psoriasis, over a period of 12 weeks. The study had an interesting design. Each individual used one of the creams on one side of their body, and applied the other cream to the opposite side of their body. As such each individual effectively acted as their own control which allowed for intra-individual comparison. At the 12 week evaluation point, no  significant difference between the creams was noted, in terms of efficacy, but the vitamin B12 avocado cream was better tolerated than the vitamin D3 cream

There are no other human clinical studies looking at avocado for skin, hair or nails.

Bottom Line

There are no studies looking at avocados for skin health in the general population

Does It Help Arthritis?

A pilot study evaluated the effect of avocado/soy bean on saponifiables in the treatment of 163 adults with osteoarthritis of the hip. This was a French multicenter randomized placebo controlled trial over two years. The results of the study were a little confusing. The trial failed to show any structural effects of avocado/soy bean on hip osteoarthritis.

A post-hoc analysis (it’s always questionable when you do a post-hoc analysis) showed reduced progression of joint space lost in the treatment arm as compared to the placebo arm. The researchers reconciled these two findings by suggesting that avocado/soy beans may act at a structural level.

Another study compared avocado/soy bean unsaponifiable (ASU) at doses of 300 milligrams, 600 milligrams versus placebo in adults. ASU was statistically superior to placebo. A significant difference was noted between the two study groups.

A third study found that avocadosoy beans reduced the need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatories in patients with lower limb osteoarthritis

Bottom Line

Studies on ASU (and not regular avocado) suggests that ASU may offer some benefits in osteoarthritis.

Other Interesting Facts

A study in 26 healthy, overweight volunteers showed that there were significant differences in self-reported feelings of satisfaction and desire to eat when incorporating half a Hass avocado into lunch meals .

Is Eating Avocado Safe?

Avocado is considered safe if eaten in food amounts. It should be remembered that avocado contains lots of calories.

There is a rare and unusual syndrome called the ‘fruit latex syndrome’ . People who are allergic to latex may have a cross allergy to avocado and may experience severe allergic symptoms if exposed to avocado. This occurs most commonly in middle aged woman can can be seen with avocado, chestnut and banana.

Avocado can decrease the effectiveness of blood thinning tablets (warfarin or coumadin). People taken blood thinning should avoid taking medicinal doses of avocado.

Post marketing surveillance of data from the French National Pharmacovigilance registry evaluate all side effects on avocado-soybean unsaponifiables between 1978 and 2008 .

A total of 117 possible side effects were reported. The main side effects were skin eruptions (eczema and urticaria), liver test abnormalities and gastrointestinal (diarrhoea) and coagulation abnormalities.

Almost 40% of the adverse drug reactions were classified as serious but no deaths were reported.

Other rare but real risks of avocados are seen in some countries where avocados grow. In developing countries, children die each year climbing trees to pick avocados and coconuts. Injuries have also been reported from avocados and coconuts falling onto people who happen to be sitting or walking underneath a tree at the wrong time.


There is very little research on avocados which makes it difficult to comment on the possible health benefits. Certainly avocados have plenty of health promoting constituents. The best data on avocados relates to avocados as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids. The most memorable research is probably the fact that avocados prevent hamburger induced vasoconstriction (though maybe avoiding the hamburger might be a better idea all round).

The main take-home message is that avocados should not be just added to the diet but need to replace some other nutrient (and particularly fat dense) foods to confer it’s best health benefits.


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Frutas Montosa, develops exclusive ripeness indicator

Spanish avocado specialist Frutas Montosa is a world reference in innovation.

The tropical fruit leader from Malaga has been developping for many years its own indicator of physiological ripeness (APM), which uses an exclusive formula to indicate the internal and external ripeness of each fruit. “We measure the ethylene concentration in real time and perform an exhaustive control of the temperature to achieve an exact and homogeneous ripening. Using a system of spectrophotometry, we can guarantee the internal quality of our avocados”. Meanwhile, to increase production capacity, Frutas Montosa has expanded its fresh and processed production areas. The addition of 1,200 square metres has allowed the addition of three additional ripening chambers and an enlargement of the room-temperature ripening zone.

Advanced guacamole & mango sauce unit

The company also develops a state-of-art processing plant to elaborate pasteurized guacamole and mango sauce using high pressure technology (HPP) that respects the original freshness of the raw materials, increase shelf-life and prevent oxidation. Founded in 1982, Frutas Montosa operates under 18,800 m2 warehouse, located in the heart of Malaga’s Axarquia area. In 2017, Frutas Montosa recorded a turnover of almost €120 million and selling 30.600 tons of mangoes and avocados. Around 55% of sales are sold abroad, mainly to France and Germany.

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Mexico set for 4% rise in avocado exports

Mexico’s Hass avocado production is forecast to rise to 1.8 million tons and its exports to total over 1.0 million tons in 2016/17.

Traders anticipate Mexico’s avocado exports in the 2016/17 marketing year will rise about 4% on the previous year to over 1 million tons.

This is attributed to expectations of continuing good international demand for Mexican Hass avocados and the fact the depreciation of the peso against the dollar is helping international sales in general.

The US is Mexico’s top export market, consuming 77-79% of its all its avocado exports. Japan and Canada are strategic market niches for Mexico, taking about a 9% and 6% share respectively.

According to a USDA Gain report, market intelligence suggests Mexico is set to produce 1.8 million tons of Hass avocados in the 2016/17 marketing year (July/June). With official estimates placing the 2015/16 production at 1.64 million tons, that would represent an increase of about 9.7%. The 2014/15 volume was estimated at 1.52 million tons.

The planted for avocados in Mexico for 2016/17 is forecast at 203,732 ha, an 8.7% increase over 2015/16 area planted.

Most states grow Hass but other avocado varieties planted in Mexico, at smaller scales, are Fuerte, Criollo, Bacon, Pinkerton, Gwen and Reed.

Michoacán is Mexico’s leader in avocado production, accounting for 80% of total Mexican avocado production.

“The Mexican Avocado Association of Producers and Export Packers (APEAM – Asociación de Productores y Empacadores Exportadores de Aguacate de México) has started working with producers in Michoacán to invest in technological improvements to ensure that avocados are free of pests and chemical or biological residues.

“This investment continues to improve the quality of the fruit,” the report says.

Source: Mexico Avocado Annual, GAIN Report MX6040, December 1, 2016


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Peru set to maintain avocado export level despite El Niño

According to SUNAT and the Peruvian Avocado Commission (PAC), last year 27% of Peru’s avocado exports went to the US and 65% to the EU. Exports to the US are expected to total about 45,000 tons this year.

Peru is set to produce about 180,000 tons of avocados for export this year, an amount roughly equal to last year,

According to a USDA GAIN report, this is despite the 2015-16 El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) weather phenomena delaying the country’s avocado harvest.

However, while Peru’s avocado production in April – which along with May and June is when its production is at its heaviest  – was roughly equivalent to April last year, at about at 44,000 tons, it is about 17% down on 2014’s production of about 53,000 tons.

The report says that Peru’s Hass avocado producers’ association (PROHASS) attributes a bloom drop in the northern growing areas to El Niño-related warmer than normal temperatures, accompanied by higher humidity and rains.

At the same time, lower than normal temperatures accompanied by drier conditions brought the harvest in earlier than anticipated in the south-central growing areas.

According to GAIN sources, export control measures contributed to delaying the harvest by one month.

“Despite the lower production numbers, SUNAT (Peru’s customs and tax authority) reports 40% higher export volumes and a 50% increase in export values for the January-April 2016 period compared to 2015’s figures. This might be due to avocados grown for local consumption being shifted to the export channel,” the report says.

According to SUNAT and the Peruvian Avocado Commission (PAC), last year 27% of Peru’s avocado exports went to the US and 65% to the EU. Exports to the US are expected to total about 45,000 tons this year.

In August 2015, Peru won approval to ship Hass avocados to Japan and China and is this year expected to ship about 5,000 tons to these two markets.

Source: Peru: El Niño and Export Controls Delay Peru’s Avocado Harvest
Image: Hass avocado by sandid via Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain)


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Regular shipments to China of Peru’s Hass avocados

Since mid-June a large batch of Peruvian Hass avocados has entered China under the Disney brand, after the inauguration of the modern theme park in Shanghai.

China has shown significant growth in the consumption of avocados, with a 160% increase in consumption over the last two years. In 2015 avocado imports totaled 15,000 tons. Right now, Mexico is the main supplying country but, recently, also the Peruvian Hass avocados obtained the authorization to access the Chinese market at the end of the 2015 season, and regular shipments to that market have started in April of this year 2016. Peru will compete in this interesting market with four fundamental strengths: a good number of professional and experienced exporters, good product quality, excellent period of arrivals and tariff benefits under the free trade agreement with China.

So far during this season, Peru has already shipped the first group containers of Hass avocados to China. Shipments are supposed to continue until end July. Although the main markets are in the big cities, such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing, recently there has been a growing demand in inland cities like Hangzhou, Nanjing and Chongqing.

Camposol placing Peruvian avocados for Disney Shanghai

Since mid-June a large batch of Peruvian Hass avocados has entered China under the Disney brand, after the inauguration of the modern theme park in Shanghai. The Peruvian avocados are brought to the market thanks to Camposol and Intercorp. The sales of Peruvian avocados for Disney will be implemented through an authorised importer in Shanghai. The Disney Resort was opened in week 24 with high expectations. The avocados from Peru will be sold onsite in the theme park and in top high-end supermarkets, such as Super City, Ole and RT Mart. The Disney-branded avocados will also be available via specialist fresh fruit stores and online platforms. The Chinese market looks interesting for Hass avocados from Peru, because more and more consumers are seeking fruit and healthy products.

Camposol is the leading agro industrial company in Peru and the third largest employer of the country, with more than 13,000 workers in high season. Now, the company is the top producer of avocados and soon will be also the leading producer of blueberries in the world. Involved in the harvest, processing and marketing of high quality agricultural products such as avocados, asparagus, blueberries, grapes, mangos, peppers, artichokes, tangerines, which are exported to Europe, the US and Asia, Camposol is fully committed to promoting sustainable development through social responsibility policies and projects aimed at increasing value for all its stakeholders.

Photo: Camposol manager José Antonio Gómez

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Changes proposed to fruit, veg standards

The Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables is to consider changes to standards for truffles, garlic, headed cabbage, table grapes, annonas (soursop), sweet peppers, tomatoes, leeks, citrus, apples, aubergines.

Food waste related to the use of standards is among the topics up for discussion at a UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) meeting in Geneva starting on Monday April 18.

Traceability and quality tolerances in marketing standards are also on the provisional agenda for the meeting of the Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables.

And also to be debated are revisions of UNECE standards for the following:

  • Truffles
  • Garlic
  • Headed Cabbage
  • Table Grapes
  • Annonas (Soursop)
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Leeks
  • Citrus fruit
  • Apples
  • Aubergines

According to the meeting agenda, the Specialized Section may also consider other standards, including:

  • Proposal by Brazil to amend the UNECE Standard for Fresh Figs,
  • Proposal by Germany to confirm or amend the UNECE Standard for Chicory,
  • Proposal by Spain to confirm or amend the UNECE Standard for Avocados.

Source of apple image:

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Frutas Montosa, avocado specialist

In 2014, Frutas Montosa sold 17,000 tons of avocado, 7,000 of mango and 1,500 tons of guacamole.

With roughly 30,000 tons traded annually, Frutas Montosa continues to lead the Spanish avocado and mango market thanks to its real-time adaptation to market demands and ongoing innovation in fresh processed fruits. In 2014, the Costa del Sol company sold 17,000 tons of avocado, 7,000 of mango and 1,500 tons of guacamole. This season, there can be no doubt that their biggest success was the decision to produce jars of guacamole.  The company’s growth goes without saying, as the figures confirm. Over the past two years, Montosa’s turnover has risen from 47.9 million euros (2012) to 67 (2014). The keys to this growth are the firm’s business strategy and, above all, ongoing investment to renew its production systems.

Spain accounts for a third of its market with 31% of sales, but France has also become an important destination for the firm, with a 34% share of sales. Other notable destinations are Germany (10%), Belgium (6.4%), Switzerland (6%) and  Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands, with around 3% of the company’s exports. Some 60% of the produce is cultivated in Spain, with 770 ha of avocado, while the rest is imported from Chile and Peru.

Image courtesy of:

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A 2 billion pound market for Hass Avocado

US avocado consumption has grown at an annual rate of 16% since 2008.

The US has become the world’s largest consumption market

Consumption of Hass Avocado in the US has grown 130% in the past 10 years. In 2015, the US consumed over 900,000 tons of fresh avocados, which represents a “two billion pound” threshold that many industry observers have been discussing for several years. This volume has more than doubled since 2008 and the growth shows no signs of slowing in the near future.

US avocado consumption has grown at an annual rate of 16% since 2008. In that year, the US consumed 424,000 tons of fresh avocados. The estimate for 2015 is 914,000 tons, meaning an average of 2.8 kg of avocados per person. This trend is expected to continue in the near future. New plantings in Peru, Mexico and elsewhere are evidence of this trend. Giovanni Cavaletto, VP of Sourcing at Index Fresh, explained that “in many commodities such tremendous growth in supply would cause severe erosion in the price per carton. This has not been the case with avocados.” According to the California Avocado Commission, in 2008 Californian growers got an average price of US$2.20/kg for their fruit, but in 2014 this rose to $2.49/kg.

1,400,000 tons expected by 2025

There are currently 6 countries supplying fresh avocados to the US market: the US itself, Mexico, which represents over 70% of Hass avocados sold in the country, Peru, Chile, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic. The increased volumes of imported fruit have been the key in developing the year-round, nationwide market presence that was necessary to drive the promotions and programmes that make avocado marketing successful today. Industry leaders predict that by 2025 the US market will consume more than 1,400,000 tons of fresh avocados. Over the next ten years, other countries will surely be added to that list. According to Cavaletto, Colombia, Brazil, and several countries in Africa have expressed interest in shipping fruit to the US, as have several countries in Central America.

Latinos: the key to increased consumption

The US population has 315 million people and within this number there is a wide variety of regional and ethnic differences. Avocado consumption in many parts of the country was hindered by inconsistency in supply, but the growing Latino portion of the population throughout the country has helped increase avocado awareness in recent years. As immigrants have worked their way from entry-level jobs to opening up their own businesses and restaurants, they have played a key role in introducing many people to new and exciting ways to consume avocado.

“Special Packs” designed for sales programme

Roughly 56% of this fruit makes its way onto supermarket shelves, while 24% goes to restaurants. The balance goes through a variety of wholesalers throughout the country, who distribute it to smaller scale operations. The distribution chain is key to the “just-in-time” inventory replenishment demand from the programme’s buyers. In such a chain, cold storage and ripening centres are located strategically in different regions of the country. Through these locations, it is easier to make sure that the right size is delivered in the right packaging style and at the right stage of ripeness to the right customer on the right day, every day. Many packaging styles are used in the U.S. market. Historically, the 11.3 kg cardboard carton was the industry standard. Today, what is referred to as “special packs”, specifically designed for the programme’s sales, make up nearly half of the avocado sales in the US, including bagged fruit and fruit packed in returnable plastic containers. The fruit is also delivered to the customer at a designated ripeness level.

Nutrition research strategy to increase consumption

Avocados are a healthy product whose consumption is backed by more than USD 50 million per year in advertising and promotional activities. Outside of the traditional strategies, the Hass Avocado Board has also undertaken a nutrition research strategy to help drive growth in avocado consumption, sponsoring clinical health research studies that have focused on 3 primary areas of nutrition: cardiovascular health, a healthy lifestyle and weight management.

Opportunity to increase avocado usage at breakfast

Avocado consumption is not even across the entire country; some parts of the U.S. consume more than others. In California, 89% of households purchase avocados and the average household consumes more than 3 avocados per month, while in the Plains states, only 51% of households consume avocados and average purchases are fewer than 2 avocados a month. Guacamole continues to be one of the favourite methods of consuming them, but other popular uses are in sandwiches, salads and plain. Dinner is the most common meal for avocado usage, while the small percentage of people using them as a breakfast food indicates there is a greater opportunity to increase avocado usage in the early morning.