Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc. has just completed a new facility in Vineland, N.J., which will be able to handle avocado cooling, cold storage, preconditioning and bagging. (Photo courtesy Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc.)
Calavo adding Michoacan line
Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc. is adding a third packing line at its facility in the Mexican state of Michoacan, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing.
The new line, which should be ready in early November, will be used primarily for tray packs, while the other lines will be used primarily for volume-fill cartons and reusable plastic containers.
The company packs more than 30 million pounds of fresh avocados a month in Michoacan, the vast majority of which is shipped to the U.S., with some shipments to Korea and China, Wedin said.
Calavo also is revamping and adding capacity at its facility in Santa Paula, he said. That project should be completed by early December.
Del Monte boosts avocado program
The avocado program at Miami-based Del Monte Fresh Produce has seen significant year-over-year sales growth as the company continues to expand its global avocado footprint, said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing.
“We are expecting strong volumes in November/December and into the first quarter of 2018,” he said.
The company, which sources fresh avocados from Mexico year-round, recently added more than 40 ripening rooms that “enable us to provide high-quality, ripened Del Monte avocados in more locations at the right time,” as well as two new bagging machines to cover both West Coast and East Coast operations, he said.
“Later this quarter, we will introduce a new organic bagging design to distinguish conventional from organic avocados,” Christou added.
Del Rey finishes facility in N.J.
Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc., Fallbrook, Calif., has just completed a new facility in Vineland, N.J., said partner Bob Lucy.
Del Rey Farms will be able to handle avocado cooling, cold storage, preconditioning and bagging. The company also may do some repacking at the Vineland location, Lucy said.
Lucy said he expects good-quality fruit as supplies from Mexico pick up this fall with even better quality coming on in late November and December.
Interest grows in Giumarra bags
Interest in the gold mesh avocado bag that Escondido, Calif.-based Giumarra Agricom International introduced two years ago continues to grow, said Gary Caloroso, regional business development director for parent company The Giumarra Cos., Los Angeles.
Consumers like the gold mesh, which contrasts with the green avocados, he said. Green mesh also is available.
The company packs a variety of sizes and configurations in the bags, which contain nutrition information and the Love One Today tagline.
Henry Avocado opens new DC
Escondido, Calif.-based Henry Avocado Corp. has opened a new, 25,000-square-foot distribution center in Charlotte, N.C., for its custom-ripened avocados, said president Phil Henry.
The new facility, the company’s seventh distribution center, was added because of an expected increase in avocado supplies over the next few years, especially additional volume from Mexico, he said.
“Mexico is the largest source of avocados in the U.S. now,” Henry said, and the U.S. has seen increased supplies every year.
The Charlotte location will be managed by Ricardo Guillen and Gabriel Del Salto under the direction of Ozzie Figueroa, Henry Avocado marketing and customer service director.
The facility will be capable of custom ripening more than 1 million cartons a year, which will be delivered using a fleet of refrigerated trucks.
The Charlotte center enables Henry Avocado to offer its Bravocado and Green Goddess brands to additional customers in the Eastern states.
Index Fresh to open Texas plant
Riverside, Calif.-based Index Fresh will open a facility in Pharr, Texas, this winter that will include ripening rooms, repacking capacity and space for 2,000 pallets, said Giovanni Cavaletto, vice president of sourcing.
The facility will be used exclusively for the company’s avocados imported from Mexico.
It should get plenty of use this season.
“There should be good volumes coming out of Mexico to supply what’s been a robust demand growth for the last two years,” Cavaletto said.
Mission Produce launches Minis
Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce Inc. has launched a new bag of tiny avocados called Minis, said Robb Bertels, vice president of sales and marketing. Minis, available in Northern California, weigh about 3.5 ounces, and each avocado is the equivalent of a single serving — one-quarter to one-third cup.
They’re sold in 2-pound bags containing eight to 10 pieces of fruit.
The company also has released a best practices avocado guide called AvocaDOs and DON’Ts.
There are two versions, one for retail that contains handling practices, merchandising tips and consumption data, and one for foodservice that contains food safety practices, cutting and storing recommendations and menu insights.
They’re available online at worldsfinestavocados.com/bestpractices.
Robinson Fresh expands ripening
As consumer demand for ripe-and-ready avocados remains high, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Robinson Fresh continues to implement pre-ripening programs in several regions across the country, said Sergio Cordon, avocado category manager.
Ripening is done “in close proximity to our customers, so the product arrives according to their needs and specifications,” he said.
“With ready-to-eat avocados available, product can flow faster through stores,” he said.
Cordon expects this season’s Mexican avocado crop to be larger than last year’s with good quality.
“We’ll see smaller fruit at the first harvest of the season,” he said, but sizes should increase as the season progresses and in fruit that is harvested at higher altitudes.
West Pak Avocado begins transition
Murrieta, Calif.-based West Pak Avocado Inc. launched The Avocado Family, a digital campaign for the global packer, shipper and distributor of avocados, at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit convention in October, according to a news release.
The campaign coincides with the retirement of company founders Randy Shoup and Galen Newhouse, who will hand over the reins to CEO Mario Pacheco, a former executive with Chiquita, the release said.
The goal is to continue the company’s commitment to growing industry relationships, new ventures in global markets, industry innovation and continued branding for the avocado under the new management, the release said.
The full transition in administration is set to take effect in early 2018.
To kick off The Avocado Family campaign, West Pak has introduced a new website — theavocadofamily.com — and a trailer for a mini-documentary video. A full launch is slated for January.