California growers aren’t the only ones who expect to have a large avocado crop this season.
Avocados are an alternate-bearing fruit, which means trees tend to produce a heavy crop one year followed by a lighter crop the next.
This year will be an “on” year for crops in California, Mexico and Peru, said Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Mission Viejo, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board.
Total avocado volume in the U.S. in 2018 is expected to reach 2.4 billion pounds, topping 2016’s record of about 2.2 billion pounds and surpassing the 2017 figure by about 300 million pounds, Escobedo said.
Last year was an “off” year that was marked by tight supplies and resulting higher prices.
Looking back, Escobedo said avocado volume oscillated from 1 billion to 1.2 billion pounds from 2007-11.
From 2011 on, “The volume just took off,” he said.
Some of that fruit comes from Peru, which is becoming a much bigger player.
Peruvian growers produced 600 million pounds of avocados and plan to boost exports to Europe this year and probably to the U.S., Escobedo said.
Peruvian avocado exports to the U.S. may reach 170 million pounds this year, he said.
Overall, “There will definitely be more fruit than last year,” Escobedo said.
The volume of fruit available in the U.S. won’t have as much of an impact on the market as the timing of the fruit — when it arrives — along with fruit size and quality, he said.
There will be weeks with significant volume, he said, but he’s not too worried about oversupply.
“Demand is definitely there for high-quality avocados,” Escobedo said.
Strong promotions by trade groups like the California Avocado Commission and the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association will help keep that demand alive, he added.
He encouraged retailers to source from various countries when avocados are at their peak and to handle the fruit properly “so that the quality carries through all the way to the consumer.”