Collaboration builds the niche market
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.”