Record Super Bowl avocado volumes possible

01/02/2014 03:07:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Pamela RiemenschneiderAvocado importers expect another big win for Super Bowl sales this year.

The two weeks leading up to this year’s game, set for Feb. 2 in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, could set a new industry standard, said Phil Henry, president of Escondido, Calif.-based Henry Avocado.

“We expect record volumes,” he said. “Prices are in range to encourage good promotions.”

The Super Bowl could once again be the highlight of the year for Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce, said Ron Araiza, the company’s sales director.

“It’s looking to again be perhaps the largest promotion of the year,” Araiza said. “We’re getting a lot of activity now from retailers wanting to promote aggressively. Every year it seems to exceed expectations.”

About 104 million pounds of avocados are expected to be consumed in the U.S. over the Super Bowl, according to the Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board.

Prices have been trending slightly higher thus far this season, but by Jan. 2, they were already at good promotional levels, Henry said, and with volumes expected to ramp up after the traditional Christmas slowdown in Mexico, they should stay there.

On Dec. 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $27.25-28.25 for cartons of 2-layer hass 48s from Mexico, compared to $26.25-27.25 last year at the same time.

Cartons of hass 50s from Chile were $28-30, up from $26.25-27 last year.

As of Dec. 28, Mexican avocado volumes were down season-to-date compared to last season, but they were beginning to make up ground, according to USDA figures.

In the week ending Dec. 28, about 21.6 million pounds of Mexican product shipped in the U.S., up from 20.4 million pounds in the same week last year.

Rains affected the Mexican deal this fall, but by December they were well in the past, and shippers were reporting big volumes and excellent quality and size, Henry and Araiza said.

“Volume shouldn’t be an issue” out of Mexico, Araiza said. “And the maturity levels have been excellent — much improved from November and early December.”

“There should be something for everybody,” Henry said of the size profile for this year’s Super Bowl.

Mexico will carry the bulk of the load for Super Bowl sales, particularly in the West and Midwest, Henry said. But Chile was expected to ship considerably more fruit this year than last year, thanks to poor growing weather in the 2012-13 season, he said.


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