The first small volume of Peruvian avocados arrived in the US in May. Starting this month and continuing through October or even November, promotable volume will be available. “In recent years, the Peruvian season has been extending and is now stretching into early November,” says Xavier Equihua, President and CEO of the Washington, D.C. based Peruvian Avocado Commission. “This is very good news as it offers retailers other avocado sources in the fall,” Equihua commented.
Last year was a record season for Peruvian avocados. More than one billion pounds of avocados were exported to more than 40 international markets, making Peru the second largest exporter in the world. Europe is Peru’s main destination, followed by the US, Asia, and Chile. “In 2022, the US received 277 million pounds of avocados from Peru, which was partly driven by Mexico having an off-season. However, this year will be different,” Equihua said. Peru is expected to export 220 – 240 million pounds to the US with Europe, Asia, and Chile again taking the rest.
While these are promising numbers, Equihua expresses his concern about the category being static. “The U.S. avocado category has had little to no growth during the past five years as consumption has oscillated between 2.7 or 2.8 billion pounds of avocados,” he said. “After a lot of effort and spending more than $100 million per year on promotions, we are hoping that consumption will finally hit 3 billion pounds this year. There is still lots of room for growth, so we all need to work collectively to achieve such. Our goal should be to increase consumption in the next six to seven years to 4 billion pounds.”
While there is room for US consumption to grow, the country already has the largest per capita avocado consumption of any industrialized country in the world. “Overall, consumption in the US is big in part because of the more than 65 million Latinos living in the U.S. and thousands of Mexican restaurants and eateries such as Chipotle serving fresh avocados and guacamole on almost everything,” Equihua said. The West Coast and the East Coast are large consumption areas but there is room for more growth in these areas and of course in the lower consumption states located in the Midwest and Southeast. “In Europe on the other hand, the Latino (non-Spanish and Italian) population is virtually non-existent. There are also few Mexican restaurants and avocados don’t really show up on the menus of restaurants and eateries.”
To increase avocado awareness and complement the season, the Peruvian Avocado Commission will be offering a robust menu of in-and-out of store marketing tactics. “Some of the signature tactics returning this year include a robust e-coupon and IRC program, and the AVO Tesla sweepstakes giveaway with Lidl,” Equihua said. The AVO Tesla sweepstakes will kick off July 1 and run until September 5 and will be promoted using many in-store marketing tactics, including a custom mesh bag band. The sweepstakes will be open to residents of the 10 states where Lidl operates stores, from New York down to South Carolina. In addition, a new signature partnership with the Atlanta Braves will also start on July 1 through September 15. “We picked the Atlanta Braves as Kroger is the official supermarket of this important MLB team. The Atlanta Braves also have the MLB’s largest DMA as it covers five Southeastern states where few avocado promotions are implemented. The Southeast is also the region with the lowest avocado consumption in the country. The objective of promotions like these is to inject excitement and create awareness for avocados from Peru and indeed the avocado category as a whole.”
Author: Marieke Hemmes