Over the summer, sales of preripened fruit skyrocketed for the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend, he said. In the coming months, the company expects to see sales boosts for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and the Super Bowl.
Green Earth Produce has ripening facilities in Los Angeles, Houston and New Jersey, he said, and ripens about 25% of its avocados.
Many customers still prefer to ripen the fruit in-house, he said, but the trend is toward “full-service, ripened, delivered fruit.”
There is high demand for quality ripening programs “that can deliver consistency throughout the season,” said Doug Meyer, vice president of sales and marketing for West Pak Avocado Inc., Temecula, Calif.
That consistency requires the right technology, an experienced staff and the proper standard operating procedures, all of which West Pak has in place, Meyer said.
The volume of fruit that the company preripens continues to increase.
“Today we are well over 50%,” he said.
Mission Produce now preripens 55% of its avocados, Wileman said.
“The pie just keeps getting larger,” he said, adding that most retailers are on some type of a ripe program.
Calavo ripens about 45% of its avocados, Wedin said.
“We’re trying to get it to 50%,” he said.
While a number of retailers prefer to do their own ripening, Wedin expects the number of orders Calavo receives for ripened fruit to keep growing.
“The success that I see with some of our best customers with their ripe programs tells me that we’re going to continue to see more and more ripe,” he said.