Del Rey’s organic avocados are a Super Bowl-sized opportunity

From The Produce News | 1 February 2022

Overview of organic avocados in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on January 27, 2022. 

“Organic is a huge focus for us in January and February,” said Patrick Lucy, president of Del Rey Avocado Co., based in Fallbrook, CA. “People are trying to eat healthy starting off the new year, and there is not a better tasting or healthier option for food than organic avocados.”

avocado volumes by histo 2

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

The California grower-packer oversees groves stretching from San Diego to San Luis Obispo County, and imports from Mexico, Peru, and Chile, making Del Rey an industry leader for year-round supply of conventional and organic avocados. Del Rey cites its deep roots, with over 40-years of growing and packing experience, “we have a personal stake in every piece of advice we give our partner growers,” said Lucy.

avocado prices by origin

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

Del Rey’s premier organic portfolio makes up a significant portion of the California avocado marketplace, and “Mexico is currently in its peak season for quality and volume, with California just starting up its crop,” said Lucy. Having organic acreage in Mexico, California, and Peru, Del Rey has three countries of origin in the market to provide year-round supply. “With the early California season we are starting mostly with size 48ct and larger coming in,” added Lucy.

“Overall demand for avocados is high and continues to grow,” said Lucy, specifically for organics. While transitioning from conventional to organic comes with its challenges, Del Rey noted there are economic reasons to make the move, as customers continue to show willingness to meet the retail premium for organic avocados.

“We feel we have done a good job providing organic avocado’s year-round to our customers by giving them options of three countries of origin throughout the year,” said Lucy. While Mexico is nearly a year-round operation, Del Rey does see a small dip in volume in the May-August window, which they are able to offset with organic supply from California and Peru. The geographical diversity is significant, “as it means Del Rey can provide volume and promotional opportunities any day of the year,” said Lucy.

While organic demand remains high, Lucy emphasized the opportunity to support and leverage domestic growers.

“Most domestic shoppers care about buying local,” Lucy said. “Therefore, the more California organic avocados we can grow and harvest the better.” This goes for all varieties of California avocados. He added, “the longer we can extend the California avocado season the better, which is why we have organic avocado growers as far south as Escondido and all the way north to Morro Bay.”

Lucy brought it back to Del Rey’s partners, “we want to make sure all our retail partners have the opportunity to promote their organics year-round.” This supply-demand relationship is cyclical, “the biggest way we are helping grow the demand for organic avocados is by having year-round availability for retailers and customers,” he said. That dependability, Lucy noted, is key to driving repeat purchases.

As for promotions, Lucy said February lends itself to Super Bowl-sized-opportunity for retailers to promote avocado sales, “as the game is still the largest avocado event of the year.”

Lastly, Lucy said to check out Del Rey’s Organic Reed’s, “we have a very good Organic Reed avocado program that we do in June and July that continues to grow and provide organic shoppers a different but wonderful tasting avocado compared to the traditional Hass Avocado.”

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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