Colombia’s avocado volume continues to climb

From The Produce News | 15 August 2023

Overview of avocados from Colombia in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on August 11, 2023. 

It appears that Colombia increased its Hass avocado exports to the U.S. market in fiscal 2023 to near 30 million pounds after doubling the volume the previous year to 24 million pounds.

“The Colombia avocado export volume projection for the foreseeable future is year-over-year growth,” said Manuel Michel, executive director of the Colombia Avocado Board. “Many Hass avocado orchards in Colombia were planted in the last few years. New orchards are being certified for export to the U.S. each year and the trees are still reaching full maturity.”

Michel, who only joined CAB in mid-July, said there is not an import volume forecast for 2023-24 yet (July 1 to June 30 FY), but CAB is working with the Colombia avocado industry’s association, Corpohass, to obtain projections moving forward. The peak volume of Colombian avocados to the United States is expected to be from October to February, but there is volume available during every month of the year because there are avocado growers in many diverse regions of the South American country.

As Colombia increases its volume to the U.S. market, CAB is working on promotional programs to help sell the crop and increase avocado consumption. CAB is authorized under the U.S. avocado marketing order administered by the USDA through the Hass Avocado Board to spend a percentage of the assessment dollars generated by Colombian imports to promote avocados in the U.S. market.

avocado volumes by histo 6

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

“Our primary objective is to collaborate closely with each retailer, tailoring unique promotions that precisely align with their specific promotional goals,” Michel said. “Whether the focus is on in-store marketing, advertising promotions, digital programs or other initiatives, we are committed to providing flexibility when collaborating with retailers. Moreover, we boast a diverse array of secondary display and point-of-sale options, allowing for optimal presentation and visibility of Colombia avocados.”

He added that one of the things that sets Colombia apart is its ability to produce quality Hass avocados year-round, thanks to its tropical and mild, spring-like climate. There are reportedly more than a dozen Colombian regions growing Hass avocados.

Colombian avocados are shipped into the United States through ports on the East Coast which has resulted in CAB establishing its primary focus as serving markets east of the Mississippi. “Nevertheless, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with retailers and foodservice buyers all across the United States,” Michel said. “We take pride in providing diverse options and tailored solutions for every retailer, whether it’s bag or bulk programs, short-term or long-term initiatives.”

Michel said the feedback from buyers CAB has received “has been overwhelmingly positive with many sharing that Hass avocados from Colombia not only meet but surpass their quality expectations.”

He said U.S. buyers are continuing to seek more year-round options for Hass avocados to provide stability during changing markets and weather events. Michel added that “significant investments from major U.S. avocado importers and marketers in the Colombian industry highlights the confidence and support they have in the growth and potential of Colombia’s avocado industry. As a result, the U.S. market can expect to see more and more opportunities to market Colombian avocados.”

By all accounts 2023 has been a challenging year for the avocado industry with some believing that the worldwide supply and demand curve is not in sync. Michel remains optimistic about the avocado category. “We expect U.S. consumer demand to continue increasing in the medium and long-term,” he said, noting that any imbalance would appear to be short-lived.

He proposed that Colombia can be an important partner to increase sales and consumption because of its status as a year-round supplier. “This presents a valuable opportunity for the Colombia avocado industry to collaborate with buyers in establishing both short and long-term programs,” Michel said. “These campaigns can serve as a strong foundation to support category programs and foster sustained growth in the avocado market.”

Michel, who recently served in a similar position with the National Mango Board, said he was attracted to CAB because of the great potential for avocados. “This was an exciting time to join a growing organization that represents a commodity that is on an upward trajectory,” he said. “My purpose and passion are in enhancing lives through agriculture development and trade, as I firmly believe in the profound impact it can have on farmers, local communities, and consumers alike. In Colombia, I see this reality in action, and I look forward to supporting and highlighting the numerous benefits and advantages of Colombian avocados.”

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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