Tight California avocado supply as growers rush to pick more fruit

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Tight California avocado supply as growers rush to pick more fruit

After the USDA halted new avocado and mango exports out of Michoacán at the beginning of June, there was concern about how this would affect supply in the U.S. market. 

However, Terry Splane, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission (CAC), told FreshFruitPortal.com that when the temporary halt on avocado inspections in Michoacán was announced there were still avocados in the supply pipeline that could reach the United States, so there wasn’t an immediate impact.

"However, supply was tight while demand stayed very strong," said Splane. "Economics usually prevails when demand exceeds supply, and market prices did increase over prior weeks."

Additionally, Peru's lower forecast for this season, with a reported 15% deficit since the beginning of the year due to warm weather conditions in the country's producing regions, also contributes to a tighter supply in the U.S.

Regarding prices, Splane said, "In general, if supplies remain tight, they are expected to rise, the impact on consumer prices will depend on individual retailer and foodservice operator policies."

There are multiple supply factors at play for the U.S. avocado market, and, on a positive note, the crop of California avocados is expected to be at least 20% higher than the original estimate, with CAC announcing on June 6 that it now estimates volumes to exceed 250 million pounds. 

"Despite a relatively slow start in March due to some rain delays, the California avocado harvest season ramped up well in April and May and continued to go strong in June, which is a promotional period we call California Avocado Month," said Splane. 

He added that the sizing on the fruit looks very good and that the local avocado supply has a range of sizes to fit a variety of customer needs.

Weather in California

Splane said that spring has been very mild and summer arrived with much more heat. He assured that even though California avocados enjoy the sunshine, growers do not want to see extremely hot days or rapid temperature spikes from here on.

Considering these conditions, Splane said they still expect there will be California avocados into August.

"The key question is what will happen to harvest velocity? That will likely depend on market conditions," Splane concluded. 

The Global Avocado Summit organized by the Chilean Avocado Committee and Yentzen Group will be held on November 21 at the Casino Monticello event center.

Photo courtesy of the California Avocado Commission

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