Green avocado sales grow, but mostly in East

08/10/2012 01:02:00 PM
Jim Offner

Hass avocados from California, Mexico and Chile control about 95% of the U.S. avocado market, but Florida, with its green-skinned fruit, does have a presence.

Sales of green-skinned avocados are growing, according to the Nielsen Perishables Group, which tracks retail sales.

Sales of green-skinned fruit grow by 26% between May 12, 2011 and the same date in 2012, said Steve Lutz, executive vice president of the Nielsen Perishables Group.

“Avocados in general have had a very good year,” Lutz said, noting that the category’s growth, compared to produce sales in general, was notable.

“It’s beating the average by double for total produce,” he said, describing the avocado category as “very robust.”

Sales of hass avocados grew by about 7% across the U.S. during the year-on-year period, Lutz said.

Translated to volume, the hass category sold about 500 million pounds, compared to about 18 million pounds of green-skinned avocados.

The 26% growth for green-skinned was impressive, but it was somewhat skewed as a national average, Lutz said.

“The interesting thing is it’s really regional,” he said, noting that green-skinned avocado sales are more than 10% of total category sales and about 11% in the East.

“In the West, it’s less than half of a percent,” he said.

Florida product doesn’t try to compete with the hass, said Mary Ostlund, marketing director with Coral Gables, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals LLC, which markets green-skinned fruit under the SlimCados brand.

Green-skinned fruit has a strong following among certain ethnicities, said Eddie Caram, general manager of Princeton, Fla.-based New Limeco LLC. “The Caribbean people, such as the Cuban, Dominican, some in the Northeast and in south Florida, are used to these varieties,” he said.

New Limeco also has enjoyed sales increases in the Midwest and Northeast, Caram said.

“I think more and more people are trying our avocados,” he said.



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