Avocado consumption: still on the rise?

06/24/2013 11:19:00 AM
Tom Karst

In the Huffington Post story, one avocado industry leader speculated that U.S. per capita consumption is far from peaking:

"While Mexico eats about 20 pounds of avocados per capita, Americas are only consuming around five pounds per capita. "We could literally be four times the growth," (Mike Brown) believes. "Especially with the buying power of the American consumer."

The rise in demand has fueled more volume which in turn has served to soften prices. From the latest quarterly report by Calavo, the sales price for Mexican fruit declined 12.7% per carton in the latest quarter compared with a year ago, and prices for California fruit were off by about 11% compared with year-ago numbers.

The USDA’ Custom Average Tool is a good way to track average prices for avocados, or any other crop, for that matter. The shipping point average price for all avocados was $35.26 per carton in 2011, $22.84 in 2012 and $23.57 per carton so far in 2013. Retail promoted prices of avocados averaged $1.47 per pound in 2011, $1.24 per pound in 2012 and $1.19 per pound so far in 2013.

Check out The Packer’s Markets Editor Andy Nelson’s latest coverage of avocado crops from California, Mexico and Peru at this link.

Also, I’ve added per capita consumption and FAO trade data from global producers of avocados to The Packer Market.

Spurred by ripe and ready fruit at retail and the opening of the U.S. market to Mexican fruit in late 1997, the rising tide of avocado demand has lifted all boats.  Yet some boats have benefited more than others. USDA stats show imports of Mexican avocados rose from 300,000 metric tons in 2009 to 431,300 metric tons in 2012. However, imports from Chile fell from 116,000 metric tons in 2009 to just more than 40,000 metric tons in 2012. U.S. imports from rising star Peru have grown from 10 metric tons in 2009 to nearly 16,000 metric tons in 2012.

Can avocado demand climb higher yet in the U.S.? With the marketing power of the avocado industry and the legacy of leaders like Gil Henry, there should be no doubt.



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