Mission Produce ready for avocado supply transition

From The Packer | 12 August 2023

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

During the transition from summer to fall, the California and Peru avocado seasons typically wind down while Mexico’s Flor Loca season ramps up.

Mission Produce is ready for the transition, says Hector Soltero, vice president of sales operations for Oxnard, Calif.-based company.

“Fruit from the Flor Loca harvest is leaning toward smaller sizing so far; for this reason, Mission Produce leverages its dual source of supply to balance size offerings for customers,” Soltero said.

Mission Produce supports retail promotions by identifying promotional opportunities with the market’s available size and volume, he said.

“With our award-winning category management program and AvoIntel, we make custom programming recommendations that are designed to maximize the sales potential of your avocado category,” Soltero said.

Mission offers a full lineup of packaged avocados and other merchandising programs that are designed to satisfy the diversity of avocado shoppers in the market.

avocado volumes by histo 4

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

Soltero said consumer demand for bagged avocados has been increasing quickly in recent years.

“Bags bring added value because they are an easy grab-and-go solution that typically offers better prices per avocado,” he said.

Mission’s “Ready!” and “Size Minded” programs provide options for shoppers looking for various levels of ripeness and sizing, so the avocados they buy can match the lifestyle they live, he said.

One shopper may be looking for several large, ripe-and-ready avocados to make guacamole that night, while another may be looking for a small avocado to add to their lunch later in the week, Soltero said.

“With Mission Produce merchandising tools and insights, we aim to diversify your avocado offerings and maximize the sales potential of your avocado category,” he said.

Mission Produce also fully accommodates private-label retailers with bagging and packing, he said.


Mission Produce believes demand for avocados will continue to grow, Soltero said.

“Many factors are driving avocado consumption, including consumer interest in healthy eating, the growing Hispanic population and the rise of millennials and Generation Z,” he said.

Soltero said a survey indicates more than half (55%) of consumers are willing to pay a premium for food that contributes to their health and wellness.

A whopping 91% of Hispanic households purchase avocados, and the average annual avocado spend per Hispanic household is 73% higher than for non-Hispanic households, he said.

He added that 71% of millennial households purchase avocados.


Organic avocado demand also is growing, Soltero said.

“Since COVID prompted an increased interest in consumer health, including a boost in organic produce purchases, the popularity of organic avocados continues to grow, and demand remains strong,” he said.

While organic avocados make up just 5% of the category, the volume sales of organics have increased by 27% in the last five years, moving nearly three times faster than the volume growth of conventional avocados, Soltero said.

“A strategic organic program can help generate sales,” he said. “Organic avocados at retail call for a price premium, indicating opportunities to grow marginal profits. That said, capturing consumer interest to pay those premiums calls for an effective merchandising strategy. Large, eye-catching displays in high-traffic areas, placing organic avocados next to conventional avocados and getting the ripeness right for the consumer can help promote organic avocado purchases.”

Demand beyond the borders of the U.S. holds a big opportunity, Soltero said.

“Per capita consumption in Europe and the United Kingdom is at a fraction of the consumption of the U.S.,” he said. “Mission Produce is leveraging its global network and infrastructure, and industry-leading ripening technology, to drive demand for ripe avocados in both markets.”

Mission Produce recently opened its newest ripening and forward distribution center in the U.K. and is advancing its customer service in the European market to bolster its competitive position as a reliable supplier of high-quality, ripe fruit year-round, he said.

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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