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Mexico upping avocado shipments as Super Bowl approaches

By
Tim Linden

Over the final two weeks of January, the projection is that Mexico will send almost 150 million pounds of Hass avocados to the U.S. market, according to data compiled and released by the Hass Avocado Board each week.

For the week ending Jan. 22, Mexico’s avocado representatives predicted that they would send almost 78 million pounds (data not yet finalized) to the United States followed by an estimated 70.5 million pounds for the current week, ending Jan. 29. A review of data from the past five years reveals that if this volume is reached, it would rival the greatest number of avocados ever exported to the U.S. market in a two-week period.  Only once – in January of 2021 – have Mexico’s shipments over a two-week period topped 150 million pounds.

Of course, now is when seasonal shipments of Mexican avocados spike in anticipation of all the promotions that typically occur in the runup to the Super Bowl. This year’s Super Bowl will be held Feb. 12, and U.S. handlers of avocados report that promotion activity is very robust as America’s quasi-holiday approaches.

Gahl Crane, sales director for Eco Farms Avocados noted that retail support for avocados is robust with most supermarkets promoting the fruit on a regular basis during January. While the big game is the ultimate focal point, he said there are several factors that contribute to the increased ads and consumption, including all the football playoffs in January plus the inclination for Americans to commit to healthy eating in the beginning of every new year.

And this year, Crane said there is no shortage of volume at very affordable FOB prices, leading to very attractive promotional pricing. He added that the promotional group, Avocados From Mexico, is doing an excellent job putting avocados from and center with the help of celebrity couple Deion Sanders and Tracey Edmonds. The duo is featured on retail bins along with AFM’s $100,000 sweepstakes giveaway.

Crane also noted that guacamole and avocado promotions at foodservice establishments are also quite prevalent after much lower activity during the past couple of years of coronavirus concerns.

Mexico currently has an exclusive on the market as there is very limited volume from other sources, including California, which is not expected to ship in earnest until some time in March. California has a relatively small crop, and the current FOB prices are not an incentive for growers to pick early.

Peter Shore, vice president of production management for Calavo, said there are good promotional opportunities for virtually all packs and sizes. Typically, the smaller fruit offers the value opportunities, especially in bags, but Shore said there is an excellent supply of very large fruit: “We are seeing very good volume and good promotional activity across all sizes.”

He also noted that the quality of the avocados coming out of Mexico is top notch.

Patrick Lucy, president of Del Rey Avocado, said that Mexico’s volume on a weekly basis began increasing in December and will continue at a very high level for several months. He noted that during the fall months, shipments averaged 40-45 million pounds per week, but now Mexico needs to average above 50 million pounds for the next several months to move the large crop that it has.  He expects volume shipments throughout the spring.

Lucy said FOB prices for avocados were mostly $20s, allowing for great retail pricing. He added that organic avocados were selling for $6/$7 more than that for each size and pack category, but that was also a very attractive price from rich retailers could offer ad pricing.

Tim Linden

Tim Linden

About Tim Linden  |  email

Tim Linden grew up in a produce family as both his father and grandfather spent their business careers on the wholesale terminal markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tim graduated from San Diego State University in 1974 with a degree in journalism. Shortly thereafter he began his career at The Packer where he stayed for eight years, leaving in 1983 to join Western Growers as editor of its monthly magazine. In 1986, Tim launched Champ Publishing as an agricultural publishing specialty company.

Today he is a contract publisher for several trade associations and writes extensively on all aspects of the produce business. He began writing for The Produce News in 1997, and currently wears the title of Editor at Large.

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