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Calavo planning for big increase in Peruvian avocado supplies

By
Tim Linden

Calavo Growers Inc. is anticipating a significant increase in the number of avocados it handles from Peru this summer as its source has seen a jump in production.

“All of our Peru supplies come from one ranch in Viru, Peru,” said Rob Wedin, executive vice president of sales for Calavo Grown. “Our 2022 Peru program represents a 75 percent increase over 2021.”

Wedin expects the approximate volume of its Peru supplies to be about 850,000 cartons this summer, and it will ship those avocados from its four distribution centers in New Jersey, Florida, Texas and California. Each of those facilities have fully operational ripening and bagging capabilities.

Wedin said Peru plays an important role in Calavo’s year-round supplies as the bulk of the volume comes into the United States when its Mexico and California volume are lower.

Officials from Peru’s avocado industry have estimated that grower-packers from this South American country will send about 235 million pounds to the U.S. market this year, which would be about 25 percent more fruit than in 2021. Besides the increase in volume, Wedin expects to have a better size distribution this year to offer his customers. “Most significant in 2022 is more retail-friendly sizes including 60s, 48s, 40s and 36/32s,” he said, noting that in the past Peru’s fruit has skewed toward the larger sizes.

Wedin said retailer programs tend to be built around 48s and 60s so it is a welcome sight when the volume will more closely match the sizes in demand. He revealed that when trees are young, they tend to produce larger fruit but as they age, the trees produce a fuller portfolio of sizes.

However, he did note that the larger fruit will be utilized and will make a very attractive retail presentation in Calavo’s jumbo bag program.

Because California growers loaded up on sales early in the season and Peru’s peak volume is expected to last throughout the summer, Wedin said another change this season will be increased participation in the Peruvian deal by retailers in the western half of the country. For the first time since it has been importing avocados from Peru, Calavo will utilize its distribution centers in Texas and California to play a direct role in the Peru program.

Wedin said the value of having all its Peru supplies come from one grower on one ranch is the ability to have an “extremely consistent pack” and “very consistent weekly supplies,” which is a great sales point for program buys.

He added that the grower is the fourth largest in Peru and runs a fully integrated operation from seed to the packingshed. Wedin said that results in “excellent quality control as all product is farmed directly.”

Calavo is anticipating promotable supplies of avocados from Peru beginning in July and continuing through September. However, he did caution that this year “demand is tremendous and has exceeded supplies most of 2022.”

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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