Peru’s avocado shipments lag behind, later season expected

From The Produce News | 19 June 2023

Overview of avocados from Peru in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on June 15, 2023. 

Though Peru’s initial projection of avocado shipments to the U.S. market for 2023 were similar to the 2022 volume of about 270 million pounds, early shipments are running well behind last year, with Peru’s volume expecting to come much later in the summer.

Quoting from industry statistics, Isabel Tavera, vice president for Pacific Produce/Agrokasa, which is both a Peruvian avocado grower-shipper and a U.S. importer of fruits and vegetbles from Peru, told The Produce News in early June that avocado shipments from Peru to the United States were only half what they were a year ago at the same time.  “Peru is sending about 53 percent less to the U.S. compared to the same time last year,” she said, noting that the decline in shipments is due to Mexico’s increased volume during the same time frame.

Relaying additional statistics from the California Avocado Society weekly newsletter, Tavera said total volume of U.S. imports were up 22 percent compared to the same time period a year earlier. She added that Mexico had less volume in 2022 so Peru helped cover the demand with its early shipments. The need is not there this year in the same time frame. Tavera said U.S. retailers have let it be known that the time for Peruvian avocados this year will be in July, August, September and even into October.

That works well for the Agrokasa growing entity as the peak of its volume will be in that time frame as its major production areas are in the southern half of Peru, which come on later in the season.

Tavera indicated that total Peru avocado shipments to the United States in 2023 will not reach the initial forecast. She said Peru has other customers and Agrokasa is specifically working with importers in Europe, Asia and Chile to take more fruit this year than last year. Peru is the largest source of avocados to Europe and Tavera said Chile has significantly increased its import volume from its South American neighbor this year.

Juan Carlos Paredes, president of the Peruvian Association of Hass Avocado Producers (ProHass) and managing director of Agricola Pampa Baja, confirmed that shipments will not reach the pre-season estimate nor 2022 numbers. “Initial projection from ProHass showed 330 million pounds and the updated projection is 240 million pounds, which represents an adjustment of 27 percent less,” he said. “This will change depending on price expectations in the U.S. compared to Europe, and the availability of adequate dry matter fruit from Mexico.”

He revealed that significant volumes will be arriving to the United States starting in the summer (week 26 arrivals), with more than 14 million pounds per week, until late September.

Paredes said shipments to Europe from Peru have been up this year, with ProHass projecting a 10 percent growth rate over last season, accounting for a total of 430 million pounds.

He added that Peru continues to look for marketing opportunities elsewhere. “For the second year in a row, ProHass is heavily investing in promoting consumption of Hass avocado inside Peru,” he said, noting that green skin type avocados are very popular. “We hope to turn this around in the next seasons and could represent eventually a big chunk of total production.”

He added that Chile offers another opportunity as early season sales have been up 44 percent in the early part of the season. “At this pace Chile could import up to 180 million pounds (13 percent of total Peru volume) of Peruvian avocados,” he said.

Asia has received 71 percent more volume from Peru up to week 22, according to ProHass. “In general, this season we expect Asia to receive 190 million pounds of Peruvian avocados which represents 14 percent of total Peruvian production.

Other U.S. handlers of Peruvian avocados made similar observations concerning the timing of Peru’s shipments. Carson McDaniel, a vice president for McDaniel Fruit Co., in Fallbrook, CA, said his firm will be bringing in Peru’s fruit from the end of June to late September, which is later than last year.

He said the Peruvian avocados, with their lower price point, will offer good promotional opportunities for retailers. He noted that Peru can offer a steady price and mostly large fruit in the 36 to 48 count range.  McDaniel Fruit will have arrivals on both coasts with its volume split fairly equally between the two. He reiterated that Peru’s price is significantly and consistently lower than for California and Mexico avocados. “We bring it in for our customers who ask for it,” he said.

avocado prices by histor 3

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

McDaniel is anticipating that the company’s Peruvian avocado supplies will be similar to last year.

Peter Shore, vice president of product management for Calavo Growers Inc. in Santa Paula, CA, also agreed that July to September will be the sweet spot for Peru’s avocados this season. “We have programs set up for the season with arrivals scheduled for July and August and into September,” he said, noting that the early fruit he has seen is very good quality and mostly 48s and larger.

While this year’s abundance of fruit has created some marketing challenges, Shore said the consistent supply of top-quality product is also a good recipe for promotions.

Gary Clevenger, managing member for Freska Produce International Inc., in Oxnard, CA, repeated a comment often heard so far this year about the big supply of avocados and the lack of retail promotions. “We have seen an oversupply of avocados this year (that has created a lower FOB price) but we are not seeing much of a change on the retail price,” he said in early June.

He added that Peru’s fruit is typically sold at a significant reduction so he is anticipating that promotions will be more abundant when that fruit hits the market in July/August.

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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