Calavo Growers Inc. has completed an expansion of its Uruapan, Mexico packing operations expected to increase capacity by 200%.
At least 6 million pounds of avocados can be packed weekly in Uruapan, or about half of Calavo’s total capacity of 600 million pounds, according to a news release. The rest is packed in California.
The expansion was announced earlier this year.
The upgrades to the Uruapan packinghouse became fully operational Aug. 1. They include a 75% increase in square footage; larger, faster equipment for grading, sizing and packing and larger coolers.
The industry pegs 2013 U.S. avocado consumption at 1.65 billion pounds, up more than 17% from this year’s forecast and about 47% higher than 2011 consumption.
“Calavo is well positioned to handle this increased volume,” chief executive officer Lee Cole said in the release. “The capital investment in Uruapan reflects a new Calavo focus on expanding its market-leading position in the fast-growth fresh avocado segment.”
Per-capita consumption of fresh avocados is approaching five pounds annually, up from two pounds a decade or so ago.
The Santa Paula, Calif.-based company’s value-added Calavo Foods segment manufactures and distributes guacamole, guacamole hummus, salsa and tortilla chips.