Mexican exports to the U.S. in 2011-12 broke the previous volume record by 15%. About 782 million pounds were shipped. That’s a lot, but some marketers would tell you demand is rising by close to that amount.
The bigger problem this season was timing. Had Mexico shipped more in March and April, before California got up to full speed, the sluggish early summer markets may not have been quite as sluggish.
Prices were still way below 2011 levels in early August. On Aug. 7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $27.25-28.25 for two-layer cartons of avocados 48s from California, down from $51.25-52.25 last year at the same time.
Some importers reported seeing double the weekly summer volumes from Mexico they expected. Instead of getting the 5 million or 6 million pounds they expected, they got closer to 12 million pounds.
Add an earlier Peruvian deal to the mix, combined with California’s big crop, and even the huge and ever-growing demand for avocados in the U.S. hasn’t been enough at times to match the even huger volumes.
But I have little doubt they’ll figure it out by next season. The marketers are too good and the product too red-hot for the industry not to.
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