Calavo says promotable volume on tap through Super Bowl

From The Produce News | 30 October 2023

Overview of avocados in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on October 30, 2023.

With a significant rain event in Mexico in mid-October, there was expectations of an improved size curve and good avocado supplies for at least the next three to four months.

Calavo Growers Vice President of Product Management Peter Shore told The Produce News Oct. 12, “The supplies are coming on well and the harvesting of the (Mexico) crop is going well. There is a good mix of sizes especially from 40s to 70s.”

He did note that there has been a lack of volume on the high end of the spectrum creating a premium price for 32s and 36s. But he said the October rain could help shrink that gap in volume as the season moves on. “But there should be good promotable volumes across the board for both bulk and bagged avocados,” Shore said.

Shore noted that the relatively late Super Bowl date of Feb. 11 is advantageous to avocado marketers and retailers alike as it gives more time to establish promotion programs from Jan. 1 through the Super Bowl weekend.

The first Super Bowl, more than a half-century ago, was held in mid-January and it has gradually moved later in the calendar since then. Through the first two decades of this century, the first Sunday in February was the preferred choice but for the last three years it has been held on the second Sunday of the second month.

avocado volumes by histo 9

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Turning his attention specifically to Calavo’s avocados program, Shore said the company will continue to expand and emphasize its ripening program, delivering fruit to retailers at its optimum ripening point from one of its four U.S. conditioning warehouse locations. Market research has long revealed that the best way to increase consumption is to offer grocery shoppers ripe and soon-to-be-ripe fruit. “This isn’t a new program but we continually work to improve it,” Shore said.

The Calavo executive also commented on the first full year of shipping avocados into the United States from its facility in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Calavo invested in a state-of-the-art packing facility in Jalisco more than a handful of years ago and then had to wait until the machinery of two governments slowly worked through the approval process.

“We are packing out of Jalisco on a daily basis as we continue to expand our grower base,” Shore said, adding that growers and their groves must be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before being allowed to utilize the facility and send their fruit to the United States. “When we built the packinghouse, we had expansion in mind,” Shore said. “As our volume increases, we will be able to expand easily.”

He said the first year of shipments went very well with excellent fruit quality and good reviews from customers. Shore observed that it would be virtually impossible to be able to tell if the avocados came from Michoacan or Jalisco, even if they were side by side. “They are both Hass avocados and look the same,” Shore said, adding that Calavo continually packs and ships from both states.

Shore did note that the new crop of avocados matures a bit earlier in Jalisco than in Michoacan, with some trees ready to bear fruit in late April or early May, which is at least a month before Michoacan can produce its new summer crop each season.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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