Expertise is not in short supply, even if the total volume isn’t what some might seek, Escobedo said.
“People who grow avocados organically have been doing it so long that maybe doing it conventionally doesn’t make sense, but it’s not creating enough reward for others to jump in.”
Some organic markets are booming more than others, Escobedo said.
“Sales are up for sure across multiple sizes,” he said. “For example, it’s very interesting to see in markets like Denver, the organic avocado is increasing.”
Organic avocado sales in Denver surged 131% last year, he said.
That’s not true in other markets, he noted.
“If you go to East-North Central, dollars were down 6% and volume was down 3%,” Escobedo said. “Basically, retailers saying this is not a big seller here. In Texas, total dollars, it represents about the same market as Denver, about $180,000 per year, versus $160,000 for Denver. It’s really small.”
“For a while, there was a big gap between conventional and organic, but I think it’s going to close the gap with conventional,” said Chris Henry, sales and marketing director with Giumarra Cos., Escondido, Calif. “It won’t reach parity, but it will get closer.”
Organic avocado sales have been steady for Fallbrook, Calif.-based Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc., said Bob Lucy, president, who described his company as one of the largest packers of organic California avocados.
Lucy“You’d think that would be more affected more by the economy, but it’s been very steady,” he said. “Those people that are committed to eating organic products hang in, even if they have to pay a little more. It works for them.”
There are good organic avocado supplies coming out of Mexico, Lucy said.
“Mexico will supply the organic market most of the fall and winter, and California will take care of the spring and the summer,” he said.