( File photo )

Leaning on big gains in several Northeast markets, sales of avocados continue to outpace total produce sales. 

The Hass Avocado Board reported that retail avocado sales for the month ending Sept. 9 grew 8.6% compared with year-ago levels. That was more than double the gain of total produce sales, which were up 3.7% for the period compared with year-ago levels, according to a news release.

The board said the Northeast topped the regional rankings in dollar growth rate at 16.2% higher than the same period a year ago. The Northeast was boosted by the three fastest growing markets: Pittsburgh (+42.6%), Albany (+36.2%), and Northern New England (+26.6%). The board said Northeast dollar growth was driven by a significant gain in volume (+42.7%), despite a decline in average selling prices(-18.6%).

According to statistics from IRI/Fresh Look, the top performing U.S. metropolitan markets for sales increases for avocados in the four-week period were:

  • Pittsburgh, Pa., up 42.6%;
  • Albany, N.Y., up 36.2%;
  • Northern New England, +26.6%;
  • Tampa, Fla., up 26.4%;
  • Detroit, Mich., up 26.2%;
  • Las Vegas, Nev., up 24%;
  • Phoenix/Tucson, Ariz., up 22.9%;
  • Orlando, Fla., up 20.8%;
  • Grand Rapids, Mich., up 19.6%; and
  • Hartfield/Springfield, Mass., up 19.2%.

Annual gains

Over the past 52 weeks, the Hass Avocado Board said the avocado category reflected above-trend growth in all regions. Southeast U.S. markets showed growth rates 38% higher than the three-year average growth.
The Midsouth and Northeast showed gains of 29% over the three-year average growth. Over the past year, the entire U.S. showed average gains of 26% greater than the three-year average trend, according to the board.