Westfalia on a mission with seed-to-table avocado program
With an avocado program that stretches from seed to fork, Westfalia Fruit Marketing is determined to bring avocados to every corner of the world.
“Our avocado program literally begins even before the seed with industry leading research and development to ensure the best fruit nourishes lives across the globe,” said Raina Nelson, president and CEO of Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA LLC. “Our mission is to make Westfalia fruit available to all plates, everywhere. We start in our nurseries across the world. These nurseries are fully accredited and recognized for the provision of premium-quality avocados. We have avocado estates located in all key growing areas across the globe including the U.S., Chile, Colombia and South Africa, as well as developing areas such as Peru, Portugal and India our reach is truly global across the continents.”
She noted that the company’s avocados are grown then carefully tested for maturity before they are hand-picked and packed for delivery. “With the benefit of a fully integrated supply chain, we have a direct influence on quality and supply. We not only grow our own fruit, but also source, ripen, pack, process and market quality avocados year-round — all in a sustainable manner. We are experts at ripening avocados, and retailers and consumers alike will surely benefit from the Westfalia difference for delivering excellent product.”
The United States is a market where Westfalia is concentrating its expertise for future growth. “We have plans for significant growth in the U.S. as we see the opportunity to improve the avocado market by offering our global value proposition to U.S. customers and consumers,” Nelson said. “Westfalia is proud to ensure a plentiful supply from multiple country of origins 12 months out of the year. Westfalia guarantees retailers a consistent full supply of the highest quality fruit possible to meet shopper demands. Aside from national consumer holidays, avocado consumption has grown exponentially over the past two decades. Westfalia has successfully kept up with growth in consumer demand through our leading avocado innovation, vertically integrated supply chain and national distribution network.”
The multinational company has strategically located operations in all regions of the United States to ensure national coverage. “We have state-of-the-art ripening technologies that can be customized to customer requirements which allows access to ready-to-eat avocados year-round,” Nelson said. “Our packhouses are driven by the dynamic market environment and, while the operations are flexible, we are able to deliver fruit consistently to exacting specifications and on time.”
Speaking specifically of Westfalia’s current supplies available in the United States, U.S. Sales Operations Manager Jeff Onstont said Hass avocados will be readily available with promotable volumes for the duration of 2022. “Buoyed by increased available volumes from Mexico, Chile and Colombia, sufficient fruit will be available domestically to bolster programs from September through early 2023,” he said, adding that an abundant crop from Mexico is providing late summer to fall promotional opportunities focusing on 48-count and smaller fruit. “There will also be opportunities for Chilean and Colombian programs late fall through the winter to close out 2022.”
Onstont noted that Westfalia also has a robust organic avocado program from an expanding grower base with fruit available in the United States from its grower partners in Michoacan, Jalisco and Peru, in addition to California.
Nelson added that Westfalia has “some exciting product development initiatives that will be ready to launch at the end of 2022, which will transform shelves in 2023.”
In the U.S. market, Westfalia customizes its marketing program to fit the needs of its customers. “Every retailer is different. We want all our retail partners to operate on their highest level, which includes excellence in merchandising,” Nelson said. “Westfalia works with each account to get retailers the displays they need, as well as design custom signage, recipe content and in-store educational tools.”
According to Nelson, Westfalia remains quite bullish on growth opportunities for the avocado in the U.S. market. “The health benefits of avocados are so rich. In a country where nutrition insecurity is an increasing concern, Westfalia knows we have much to contribute to solving this issue,” she said. “Fresh avocado consumption in the U.S. has increased dramatically since the 1990s by 350 percent per capita consumption, but there is a still is a lot of room for demand growth in many regions of the U.S. and we are materializing unique sales strategies tailored to regions where opportunities to increase per capita consumption exist.”
She is equally confident of growth across the world. “Globally the demand for avocados also remains positive, in both the more mature markets such as the United Kingdom to the developing areas such as India and the Far East. Avocados are such a unique fruit, full of nutritional benefits and adaptable to any meal occasion, we anticipate healthy growth across all continents.”
Nelson concluded her comments by discussing the company’s efforts on the sustainability front. “We are passionate about sustainability — it has been part of our DNA for over 70 years and is a priority throughout our operations. We actively work toward being the best stewards of the environment throughout our supply chain, from our innovative growing and harvesting methods to recyclable packaging and embracing the use of renewable energy — we are dedicated to actionable sustainable practices to futureproof the avocado industry. We are aligned and committed to the United Nation’s 17 global goals and we aim to be carbon neutral by 2049, which will be the best way to celebrate our 100 year anniversary.”