“We were seeing some improvement earlier this year,” he said.
Calavo has seen its ProRipeVIP ripening program expand on the distributor level as foodservice distributors rely on the company to preripen avocados intended for foodservice customers.
The shift from Mexican restaurants to restaurants across the board, even during the recession, has been favorable for the avocado industry, he said.
Chefs prefer avocados from midseason and later, Donovan said.
“The early crops from Chile and Mexico really aren’t the first choice for foodservice,” he said.
“We usually see foodservice come into play from October onward.”
That’s because the oil content of the fruit typically is higher after midseason, and that produces a better taste profile than the early crop, he said.
The good news for Chilean growers is that foodservice buyers will stick with their fruit after the early crop starts to come in during the spring from California and Peru, Donovan said.