Recessions come and go, but sales of organic avocados continue to rise, marketing agents say.
Los Angeles-based Melissa’s World Variety Produce Inc. says its organic avocado sales from Mexico have been strong.
“As one of the larger suppliers of organic varieties in the U.S., avocados is a pretty decent seller for us,” said Robert Schueller, company spokesman. We’ve seen some pretty good growth, especially in the last four or five years.”
It’s just part of a larger trend in organic sales, he said.
Schueller “In particular, organic produce in general is becoming more embraced,” Schueller said.
Organic avocados out of Mexico are more seasonal than the conventional product, however, Schueller noted.
“From an organic perspective, it’s more seasonal, just because of certification and the ease of the volumes and the list of competition, whether it’s from the domestic market or some other importers of organic avocados,” he said.
Mexico definitely is a good source for organic avocados, Schueller said.
“Mexico doesn’t typically have a problem like we do domestically during the late fall and winter months, when half the U.S. is under a deep freeze or snow,” he said. “Mexico has always been an ideal country for avocados because of their more mild climate, which is more conducive to avocado season year-round.”
When organic product is available, consumers have numerous options, Schueller noted.
“There are so many different sizings that are available in the marketplace, it seems a lot from Mexico can be available in a smaller size,” he said. “We get what our customer wants in terms of the sizing and its ripeness level. It’s not rock-hard, nor does it deliver to the store soft. Mexico delivers a variety of sizes.”
Organics are still only a small percentage of the avocados shipped out of Mexico, however, said Emiliano Escobedo, marketing director at APEAM, the organization representing avocado exporters from Michoacan, Mexico.
“The organic category represents about 3% or 4% of the total category, so it’s very small,” he said. Escobedo
At the same time, Escobedo noted, Mexico is the largest organic producer in the world and the largest exporter of organic avocados.
The product also comes with drawbacks, he noted.
“It is very labor-intensive and very expensive to grow organic,” he said. “Maybe the market really doesn’t reward that much.”