Avocado demand, prices soar - The Packer

Avocado demand, prices soar

03/20/2013 12:08:00 PM
Mike Hornick

Rising demand for hass avocados, weather-related sizing issues in California and a dip in Mexican production kept shipping prices around $30 per two-layer carton in mid-March.

That’s up about $10 on size 48s and 60s from what Mexican fruit commanded through much of February.

“Mexican growers felt they were under-pricing the market,” said Bob Lucy, partner in Fallbrook, Calif.-based Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc.

“They could still harvest about 30 million pounds a week and they were just leaving money on the table. I didn’t think it was undervalued by $10. But in November to January, maybe it should have been $3 or $4 higher.”

Harvesting came to a temporary halt March 18 for Benito Juarez Day in Mexico. Partial data for the previous week confirms that 30 million-pound pace, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers.

It’s a lot of fruit, but less than winter production.

“It’s maybe 10% over forecast instead of 30% like they were shipping,” Wedin said.

“Demand is continuing, inventories have gone down and prices up.”

Shipping prices on Mexican hass avocados ran mostly $30.25 for size 48s and $29.25 for size 60s on March 18, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Year-ago prices were nearly identical for the 48s, but $25-26 for the 60s.

Mexican production will go to June. California is starting to see significant increases in harvested volume but remains far from the peak amounts predicted from a deal expected to stretch into October.

The California Avocado Commission estimates a 515 million pound crop for the state in 2013.

Harvests there spiked to 9.4 million pounds in the second full week of March, up from 4.6 million the week before. That was good news, Wedin said, but growers still aren’t seeing the sizing they like.

“We envisioned better spread sizing, but the fruit is pretty small,” he said.

“Some of the growers who contributed to that 9.4 are backing away because they’re just not getting the pack-outs they want.”

There’s a good set on the trees, but, so far, insufficient time, temperatures and rainfall to size up, Wedin said. Even so, he added, it’s common for a big crop to fall behind and come on strong mid-season.

“(California) is developing an inventory of size 70s,” he said. “The pricing of 70s is not conducive to significant increases.”

“It’s really just getting started,” Lucy said.

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James Pot    
Canada  |  March, 21, 2013 at 01:19 PM

Expect a steady increase in demand over the next few years with paleo oriented diets slowly becoming mainstay with an increasingly larger demographic

R.B. CA  |  March, 21, 2013 at 02:05 PM

Gratefully for me, I have an Avocado tree in my backyard! And mine are ginormous! At least twice the size of those little golf balls you find in the market. :-)

Sandy Robinson    
Redland, Florida 33031  |  March, 22, 2013 at 08:33 PM

48s & 60s gimme a break---no comparison to Florida's 12 to 14s in single layer flat & 15 lbs weigh out. plus less closterol and more meat for the diet. Say no more until you bite into a Simmons, Nesbit, Choquette, & Monroe Avocado from South Florida & Redland Raised, Contact growers at Tropical Fruit Growers of So Fl

Randy Sobinson    
California  |  March, 26, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Florida Avocados do not compare to Hass. There are definitely people that prefer the flavor because of a tendency to side with local produce or even because that is what they grew up eating but to retailers...the Hass is a superior piece of fruit. period. The fruit is much easier to handle, has exceptional shelf life and is familiar to consumers because of the hundreds of millions in ad dollars spent on it. The florida avocado is a niche fruit that has no potential for growth. Enjoy your fruit at Tropical Growers. They will have plenty when it is in season because nobody outside of a 100 mile radius will want any of it.

Arnaldo Chibbaro    
Quillota CHILE  |  March, 28, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Wait for chilean avocados up September! I hope mines will be the best! And organic!

Huntington Beach CA  |  August, 24, 2013 at 07:21 PM

I remember when Avacados were cheap...3 or 4 to the dollar. Then there was a bad production year, prices skyrocketed and never came down. No doubt there has ben price fixing amongst the growers... It needs to be investigated.

October, 31, 2013 at 09:26 AM

Look between California and Florida the only difference is the fat ! While hass is about 10 grams per cup the florida a are about 6 grams per cup! But it all depe day on your taste! I have 750 floridA trees with five varieties and each is different ! Look women trying to cut back on calories should try a Florida avocado! Also with the hass the get brown and that's when there fully ripe, to me that's a rotten avocado. I like Florida cause u tastes the flavored not the fat

November, 26, 2014 at 12:59 AM

florida avocado sucks,so you shut up,,

November, 26, 2014 at 01:01 AM

hass avocado is the best of the best!!!!!

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