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Mission touts its Peruvian avocado connection

By
Tim Linden

Mission Produce Inc., one of the world’s largest avocado producers, also boasts the one of the largest packingsheds in the world as part of its operation in Peru.sdf

“We are vertically integrated in our Peru operations,” said Denise Junqueiro, senior director of marketing and communications for the Oxnard, CA-based company. “We own approximately 3,770 hectares across three farms, as well as the world’s largest avocado packing facility, located in Chao. We pack, bag and provide cold storage for our avocados at the source, and ripen at the destination in one of our 12 global ripening and forward distribution centers.”

Junqueiro recently told The Produce News that Peru is a very important part of Mission’s year-round global supply. “Sourcing from Peru is significant for our operations,” she said. “The country’s seasonality during the summer months supports the global demand for avocados, as it has risen to be the No. 2 source for avocados worldwide.”

In fact, Mission continues to increase its Peruvian production. Junqueiro said in the two-year period from 2018 to 2020, the company’s harvest volumes increased by almost 15 percent. Mission markets its avocados from Peru in Europe, Asia and the United States, as well as throughout South America.

Like other U.S. importers of Peru’s avocados, Mission is expecting more volume this year. “Peruvian arrivals to the U.S. are listed higher than arrivals for 2020’s season, so far,” said Brock Becker, who was recently promoted to the position of senior sales and sourcing export manager. “The quality is high, sizing is normal and peak arrivals from Peru are expected in July.”

Mission is anticipating increased avocado supplies with promotable volume as it heads into summer.

Junqueiro said the specific characteristics of a Peruvian avocado have resulted in Mission launching an educational program for both retailers and shoppers.

“We are constantly enhancing our Peru offerings and capabilities. We want consumers to have a great experience. This year, we continue to focus on our Thick Skin program, through which we educate our customers and consumers on the thicker, bumpier skin that is a characteristic of Peruvian avocados,” she said, adding that the thick skin can make it tough to gauge ripeness. “So, we developed Thick Skin as an educational resource on judging ripeness.”

The Thick Skin program involves onsite training and consumer education, as well as educational resources for both retail staff and consumers.

“Ripening Peruvian avocados is an art because of the thick skin. Our industry-leading avocado specialists are highly skilled in delivering tailor-made ripening programs to serve our retailers’ custom merchandising strategies,” she said.

Junqueiro noted that Mission has a robust global distribution network with 12 strategically placed forward distribution centers “with advanced avocado-specific infrastructure to send beautiful, ripe Hass avocados to our customers.”

She added: “We provide expert category management, creative merchandising options, and custom ripening programs to best serve the business needs of our customers. Our agricultural experts are well-versed in growing Peruvian avocados — our synchronized expertise in both growing and marketing avocados greatly supports our customer base and footprint in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.”

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