Av­o­cado Up­date

Col­lab­o­ra­tion builds the niche mar­ket

The Orchardist - - >>contents - By Jen Scoular, chief ex­ec­u­tive, NZ Av­o­cado

With our ex­port mar­kets in full swing we have been con­tin­u­ing the global in­ter­ac­tion needed to sup­port that.

I met with the Hass Av­o­cado Board to hear first-hand about the re­search they are un­der­tak­ing on the health at­tributes of av­o­ca­dos.

The board is a great ex­am­ple of global col­lab­o­ra­tion. They are funded by a levy on all Hass av­o­ca­dos sold in the United States, in­clud­ing those grown there. Fed­eral law sup­ports that levy which en­sures that a per­cent­age of all sales of av­o­ca­dos are in­vested into mar­ket­ing or re­search, sup­port­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of the in­dus­try.

Cur­rently the board sup­ports 11 dif­fer­ent uni­ver­sity-led re­search pro­grammes across a num­ber of ar­eas such as, heart health, di­a­betes, weight man­age­ment and across a num­ber of de­mo­graph­ics in­clud­ing mums, ba­bies and the obese. It’s fan­tas­tic to see new in­for­ma­tion com­ing out. We see this as real ev­i­dence to sug­gest de­mand for av­o­ca­dos is not go­ing to lessen any time soon.

You may have read about the study where re­searchers will pay par­tic­i­pants to eat av­o­ca­dos ev­ery day on top of their nor­mal diet. The hy­poth­e­sis is that av­o­cado con­sump­tion de­creases stom­ach fat, and does not have a detri­men­tal ef­fect of in­creas­ing weight, even though the per­son is con­sum­ing more calo­ries.

The bad news for lean peo­ple keen to get free av­o­ca­dos is that is that you have to have a stom­ach di­am­e­ter of more than 102cm to be con­sid­ered.

Af­ter the trial ship­ment of to China in Fe­bru­ary this year, the last step in a long process to gain ac­cess to that mar­ket Just Av­o­ca­dos and Avanza have now shipped the first av­o­ca­dos there. China is a mar­ket of great in­ter­est to our in­dus­try, and while the op­por­tu­nity is enor­mous, ex­porters are also very aware of the chal­lenges. Ja­cob Dar­ling, gen­eral man­ager of sales and mar­ket­ing at Just Av­o­ca­dos said this coun­try has a lot of work to do in terms of dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing NZ av­o­ca­dos from those from other sup­pli­ers so it can ex­tract a pre­mium.

China is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing growth in av­o­cado de­mand of over 250 per­cent a year from the big pro­duc­ers, Mex­ico, Chile and Peru. As a small pro­ducer we have a lot of work to do to cre­ate our own niche mar­ket, and as an in­dus­try, we will work with ex­porters to do this. It’s a new chal­lenge for our in­dus­try to go into a mar­ket that is dom­i­nated by the large pro­duc­ers, but we be­lieve, work­ing to­gether and mar­ket­ing the unique at­tributes of our

av­o­ca­dos will en­able our av­o­ca­dos to stand out and de­mand a pre­mium.

Our WeChat so­cial me­dia ac­tiv­ity in China this sea­son re­volves around learn­ing about the con­sumer, en­sur­ing ev­ery post is seek­ing feed­back on what they think about our av­o­ca­dos, which health at­tributes is of the most value to them and how they eat av­o­ca­dos.

I joined our Deputy Prime Min­is­ter in Bangkok at an event to open the 201819 NZ av­o­cado sea­son in Thai­land. Pop­u­lar­ity of av­o­ca­dos there is on the in­crease, driven by the health at­tributes and their trendy sta­tus. Kala­mare Ben­ja­mas, a celebrity in Thai­land with 2.6m fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram, was our MC and did a won­der­ful job ex­tolling the virtues of av­o­ca­dos, of NZ and of the amaz­ing dishes the celebrity chef pre­pared for the 50 or 60 me­dia and in­dus­try in­vi­tees. We re­ceived great cov­er­age af­ter the event, and will have footage and col­lat­eral from the event to use on our dig­i­tal plat­forms over the ex­port sea­son.

As an ex­port­ing in­dus­try we know how im­por­tant it is to know our con­sumer and vis­it­ing the mar­ket is a great way to build that knowl­edge. Our ex­porters will be in and out of ex­port mar­kets through the sea­son to visit their cus­tomers and see their av­o­ca­dos in store. We are look­ing for­ward to a strong ex­port sea­son while we en­joy the con­tin­ued ex­cel­lent de­mand for our won­der­ful av­o­ca­dos in the NZ mar­ket.

“China is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing growth in av­o­cado de­mand of over 250 per­cent a year from the big pro­duc­ers, Mex­ico, Chile and Peru.”

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