Calavo expects excellent bagged market
Bagged avocados as a value buy at retail have been increasing almost exponentially over the past few years, and that trend should continue, according to Peter Shore, vice president of product management for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, CA.
“There should be a great market this year featuring California bagged avocados,” Shore said. “We see the bagged category as being very important to us for both conventional and organic fruit.”
Shore noted that California is expected to produce a good portfolio of sizes, allowing the longtime avocado grower-shipper to sell bagged avocados in all sizes. Calavo has been one of the leaders in bagged avocados, including the small 96-size fruit that it sells as “teeny avocados”. But he said bagged avocados will also be available in large sizes, which are great for retail promotions. In fact, Shore said the next several months will be the prime shipping period for California fruit with promotional opportunities expected to be available throughout that time for both bagged and bulk fruit.
“There should be good availability of fruit with it peaking in the 48 to 70 size,” Shore said. “We expect both good supplies and lots of promotions.” Shore said March shipments of California fruit have been limited but supplies should increase by late March/early April and remain relatively robust into July.
In fact, Calavo anticipates selling California avocados through August and into September. He added there will be plenty of California fruit available for Cinco de Mayo promotions as well as the summer holidays of Memorial Day Weekend and the Fourth of July. Because the California crop is smaller than last season, and about 10 percent smaller than the four-year average, Shore expects the Western states to gobble up virtually all the supplies. Though he did add that Calavo does have customers further east that like to promote avocados. “It depends on the customer,” he said. “If they are regularly California-first customers, we will have fruit for them during the California season.”
As Calavo harvests its California fruit, it will be integrating it into its program of imported avocados, including fruit packed at its packing facility in Jalisco, Mexico. It was less than a year ago that growers in the state of Jalisco were finally granted access to the U.S. market. Shore said while Jalisco has technically been open for about a year, each grove has to be certified separately before they can ship to the U.S.
“Officials still haven’t certified all the acreage yet,” he said. “We expect to have greater volume from Jalisco moving forward.”