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Crowded avocado market to cool last year's hot prices

Heavy volumes of avocado imports are expected in the U.S. in 2023, which has industry experts anticipating a more saturated market than the avocado-lite 2022. Avocado packer and marketer Index Fresh is working to keep California growers informed and positioned to benefit from the best possible pricing windows amid potentially crowded market conditions.

Steve
Steve Roodzant

“Avocados are the produce section darlings,” said Index Fresh CEO Steve Roodzant. “Last year, avocado shortages drove prices up and resulted in California growers collecting a phenomenal $1.76 per pound for their delicious fruit. This year, heavy supply is likely to push prices lower.”

The 2022 avocado market was defined by a light avocado crop out of Mexico. In contrast, this year’s crop is large, and Mexico expects to export 16 percent more avocado volume into the US in 2023. Since over 80 percent of the avocados consumed annually in the U.S. are from Mexico, changes to Mexico’s crop size have a major impact on the U.S. avocado market.

In total, the U.S. is expected to consume 3 billion pounds of avocados in 2023 — a record-breaking volume made up of imports from Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile, as well as domestic production of California avocados.

According to pre-season crop estimates from the California Avocado Commission, the state is on track to harvest approximately 257 million pounds of avocados in 2023, 7 percent fewer pounds than 2022. Given heavy avocado volumes out of Mexico, this year’s California season is expected to launch with light harvesting in January then increase to peak harvest in April through July. Though California’s share of the market is less than 10 percent overall, the spring and summer harvest typically serves an important role by filling a low-volume window that opens during Mexico’s lighter months.

“Additionally, California avocados traditionally occupy a special market niche thanks to their excellent quality and the value that consumers increasingly place on locally sourced produce,” said Keith Blanchard, Index Fresh’s California field manager. “The baseline price of avocados may be lower now than at the start of 2022, but we are confident that California avocados will continue to fetch a premium in 2023.”

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