Page content

Back to list

A boost for the green superfruit

Water splashing on fresh sliced green avocado over green background.

Marketing campaigns for avocados should be specifically tailored to younger people. kaiskynet/AdobeStock

Soft-tasting, with a creamy texture, and brimming with vitamins and essential amino acids, fibres and healthy unsaturated fatty acids, avocados are the perfect ingredient for both sweet and savoury dishes. No wonder then that the dark green fruit is becoming more and more popular with consumers all over the world. All the same, market analysts are convinced it has even greater potential.

Supply is growing and growing …

Over the last decade, more precisely between 2011/12 and 2022/23, global trade in avocados multiplied threefold. With an estimated annual volume of 2.6 million tonnes, it currently accounts for 1.5 per cent of the global fruit trade. “Avocados are vital to the economies of the countries producing them“, said Hans-Christoph Behr, a market analyst with Agrarmarkt-Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI), at the Fresh Produce Forum of FRUIT LOGISTICA. So it was all the more worrying that turnover had not kept pace with sales, he added.

Mexico accounts for around half of the global trade in avocados and supplies the US with most of the 1.3 million tonnes that make up its annual export volume. Peru is the second-largest exporter. The South American country accounts for 22 per cent of global avocado exports and is also the European market’s biggest supplier. However, other countries including Colombia, Chile, Kenya and South Africa are also focusing more and more on European consumer demand.

… but demand is lagging behind

Demand could be much higher in many places, Behr believes. In 2022, every Spanish household purchased an average 4.4 kilos of avocados, and every French household 3.8 kilos. Consumption in German households was more restrained, averaging 1.5 kilos. And whereas Italian demand for avocados has grown significantly over the last few years – albeit from a low base level – the German market is stagnating. Only four out of ten German households buy avocados at all. Thus, in theory the market still has great potential here, and in other European countries too. Tapping into this market and exploiting it to a greater degree ultimately made more sense than increasing consumption in households already buying avocados, said Behr. In the latter case that usually only worked by lowering prices.

Winning over new customers

In order to efficiently market a product one must identify the (prospective) customer. In the case of avocados that means targeting a potentially younger, wealthier clientele. The best-case scenario is to establish new habits. In the US for example, there is a sudden leap in avocado consumption in February of each year. For a simple reason, as Antonio Lazaro, business intelligence director with the US market analyst agtools, explains. It is because the American Super Bowl traditionally takes place on the second Sunday in February. And for most fans, a bowl of guacamole is a must for watching this spectacle. It is the result of a clever marketing ploy by the food industry initiated in the nineties. According to the dpa news agency, Mexico supplied around 130,000 tonnes to coincide with the 2023 Super Bowl. By comparison, Spain, Europe’s only avocado exporter of note, exports 36,000 tonnes of avocados a year.

A question of sustainability?

One reason for the unsatisfactory demand in Europe could also be the bad reputation avocados have gained in recent years. Cultivation of the pear-shaped fruit, regarded as a vegetable when consumed, but which botanically speaking is a berry, requires a lot of water. About 1,000 litres per kilo, to be precise, which is why it is not uncommon for it to be labelled a “sin against the environment”. According to Lazaro, such criticism fails to consider other aspects and tells only half the story. At FRUIT LOGISTICA, the market expert explained exactly what resources are used in avocado and tomato production. Whereas tomatoes on average require less water, generate less greenhouse emissions and less food waste, the green superfruit requires less energy, less fertiliser and incurs lower labour costs.