Avocado suppliers anticipate heavy volumes through January

U.S. avocado suppliers anticipate strong volumes through January

U.S.-based avocado suppliers say they are expecting strong and stable volumes over the next couple of months, with an increase in the run-up to the Super Bowl.

Donny Lucy, Vice President of Sales at Del Rey Avocado Company, told FreshFruitPortal.com that supplies have been steady over recent weeks, hitting around 50 million pounds per week into the U.S. market.

He said that for now this pace is likely to continue with a balance size profile, but volumes will likely pick up in the new year.

"We expect a weekly increase in volume to match the demand for the Super Bowl, and obviously we are not sure what that will look like given the current situation, but we are anticipating higher demand and higher volume certainly from the middle to the end of January," he said.

But it remains to be seen whether the U.S. market would see volumes of up to 78 million pounds per week for two or three weeks as in previous years.

"That is really going to depend on that push-pull demand from retail and as we get closer we will have a better feel as retail starts plugging in some orders and trying to really figure out what they are going to do and how much fruit they are going to move on their end," he said.

He added that the U.S market can absorb the volumes, but prices are not at high as many growers would like.

"I think in order to get through this 50 million pounds a week that we are doing, we are seeing historically low prices which are allowing a lot of retailers to be aggressive and promote at fantastic prices for the consumer, but the return for Mexican growers is not ideal," he said.

"I think as we get into the Super Bowl demand period we do expect a little bit of an uptick in pricing but overall the general feel of that pricing will stay a little bit lower."

Peter Shore, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Calavo Growers, also expects steady supplies into the U.S. market over the next couple of months.

"Mexican avocado imports to the United States in December and January are forecast to be steady with promotional volume with good mix of sizes," he said.

Hector Soltero, Senior Director of Sales Planning at Mission Produce, said that Mexico is producing promotable volumes through December and leading into the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, the biggest avocado sales period of the year.

"Volumes are looking at north of 50 million lbs through December and will continue to grow as we get closer to the Big Game," he said.

Soltero said it is the perfect opportunity for retail to get aggressive with promotions and take advantage of this window

"Conditions line up to promote this superfood since consumers are always looking for nutrient-dense foods to support immunity during the winter months and their health goals going into the New Year," he said.

"Whether your goal is to celebrate game day or support your health there will be plenty of avocados to play their part."