Europe: January expected to see good Hass avocado sales
January is expected to be a relatively good month for avocado sales in the European market compared to December, with supplies from multiple origins then set to increase again at the end of the month and possibly push down prices moving into February.
That is according to a representative of Spanish avocado company, Malaga-based Anjamar Fruit, which is recently getting its Hass season underway.
Anjamar Fruit's commercial director Oscar Quirinus van Reisen told FreshFruitPortal.com that large sizes especially were still scarce in the market and were fetching particularly high prices - but not as high as October or November.
The situation comes amid Chile's avocado season, which has seen lower volumes and smaller sizes than last year, while volumes over recent months from Mexico have also been relatively small.
Meanwhile, Spain's avocado season - which has been impacted by adverse weather - has also seen smaller Hass sizings in the initial stages, he said.
"There has been quite high demand for large sizings," Van Reisen explained. "For Spanish avocados, there were few large sizes available, so this created some stress in the European market with other origins."
Spain will likely end up with slightly higher production this season. Van Reisen estimates it could be around 80,000 metric tons (MT) compared to 70,000MT last year.
The increase would be due to new plantings coming online - mainly from Huelva and Valencia - partially offset by high winds over recent months which blew a lot of fruit of trees.
"So there are kind of two markets for Spanish avocados, one with the premium normal produce and the other with the avocados that fell from the trees early," he said.
But he urged buyers to be patient, explaining that from around February onwards the sizing and quality of Spanish avocados would increase significantly.
"That's when the dry material is so much higher. It always depends on the cycle - it starts with the lower oil levels and then higher oil levels. That’s for every origin," he said.
In the meantime, import volumes are expected to increase at the start of the new year, and the availability of larger sizes should also start to rise over the next couple of months.
Israeli Hass avocados are also now in season, but volumes from that origin are limited amid a smaller crop than last year.
"I think in January we will see quite a good month in terms of avocado sales," he said. "But by the end of January, more volume from Colombia is expected to come in.
"For Mexico, I think we need to see how much will be shipped to the U.S. and Asia and how this impacts shipments to the European market, but I think January will be a better month than February in terms of prices."
Past February, other important supplies will come into play, including Peru - which Van Reisen expects will ship larger volumes than 2019 as it will be in an on-bearing year - and South Africa, which has also been seeing an upward trend in avocado exports.
There will also be greater Spanish supplies around then, and Van Reisen said many European buyers and consumers still favor Spain as an origin due to its proximity, especially in relation to environmental concerns.