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New Zealand Avocados Achieve Record Sales Volume

New Zealand Avocados Achieve Record Sales Volume


TAURANGA, Thursday 11 June 2015: New Zealand’s largest ever avocado crop has been successfully harvested, packed and marketed with a massive 7 million trays sold during the 2014-15 season.

Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, today announced the new record volume which was 43 per cent higher than last season, and up from a previous industry high of 6.1 million trays sold in 2011-12 and a great industry return.

“Growth in the consumption of avocados in our key markets continues to be very impressive. The Australian market performed very well for us, with strong matching of supply and demand by our exporters. Demand for our premium produce is growing in emerging Asian markets like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. The New Zealand market performed well, with new collateral and increased engagement within the sector. To have achieved sales of $135m in our largest season to date, is a fantastic result and a credit to the hard work across the industry.”

Avocado trees bear fruit irregularly so crop volumes vary each year. When high volumes are produced, sales returns have historically decreased. But the industry has almost matched last season’s record sales of $136m thanks to strong consumer demand, a collaborative strategy across exporters and New Zealand marketers and efforts to manage volumes and develop new markets.

“The New Zealand avocado industry is in great shape. We are working well together, jointly developing collateral and new markets, collaborating with resources and information and seeing real value being created across the industry,” Scoular says.

“Growers, packers, marketers and exporters are collaborating and sharing information which is helping improve orchard performance and drive sales growth. We’re very pleased with this season’s return.”

A new orchard performance benchmarking system has been developed over the past two years to help measure R&D initiatives and motivate growers to produce higher and more consistent yields.

“People are motivated by other people’s success and this system gives growers an incentive to improve their own orchard’s productivity,” Scoular explains.

This season also marks the first year of the avocado industry’s visionary Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). The programme, called “New Zealand Avocados Go Global”, aims to triple productivity and increase avocado sales to $280m by 2023.

“NZ Avocados Go Global is a five year programme and based on this year’s results we believe this forecast is achievable. We have an extensive R&D programme now in place. We have a strong partnership with Plant & Food Research, and have secured additional research funding through MBIE. Through these programmes we are analysing a number of factors such as irrigation, canopy management and tree health to develop and implement best practise to increase productivity.”

Scoular says scientific trials are now underway in the Far North, mid-North and Bay of Plenty, and valuable data is being gathered and disseminated.

New Zealand avocados are marketed overseas as a premium, safe, and healthy fruit, and for the first time exporters of New Zealand avocados were invited to apply to a new contestable promotions fund. Communications Manager Midge Munro says NZ Avocado made $150,000 available which resulted in $350,000 worth of promotional activity being carried out.

“Exporters are making good use of the New Zealand avocado category story collateral, from use of the beautiful imagery for in-store tastings to the innovative wrapping of a van which drove through the streets of Tokyo and offered avocado smoothies and samples to consumers at farmers markets and other busy weekend spots,” Munro says.

Australia was once again the industry’s biggest export market, taking 3.2 million trays this season. But Scoular says Asia remains the future focus. The region bought 1.3 million trays this season – almost double the previous record set in 2011-12.

“We showcased New Zealand avocados at Asia’s largest fresh produce trade show, Asia Fruit Logistica, in Hong Kong last September and had a terrific response. Our marketing collateral is being used successfully by exporters and at industry events in Singapore, Japan, Korea, Thailand and India and we’ve had lots of positive feedback from current and potential in-market partners.”

Gaining access to the Chinese market remains a top priority. Ashby Whitehead, Chair of New Zealand Avocado Growers’ Association and Avocado Industry Council, attended the iFresh Produce Fair with Scoular in Shanghai last month.

“Avocados are the top priority for horticultural product access to China being negotiated by MPI. We are putting plans in place on the basis we can meet the protocols required by 2016 so we’re working closely with MPI to get all the technical information that China requires to progress our application,” Whitehead says.

Here at home, New Zealanders consumed a record 1.8 million trays of avocados this season, up from 1.2 million trays the year before.

Scoular says local retailers and consumers are learning to recognise the amazing health benefits and great taste that avocados offer.

“Our public relations programme across print and social media has played a big role in promoting and sharing recipes and health information about avocados. We introduced television commercials for the first time this season and received great support from food writers about avocados. There has been a noticeable rise in consumption and interest in avocados which bodes well for our industry’s future success,” she says.

NZ Avocado also invested more into the New Zealand market with new collateral, retail education tool kits and development of new avocado recipes.

“Avocado nurseries are experiencing huge demand, and have sold out now for the next 18 months. Orders for future seasons are strong, and the outlook is very bright for increased investment in this exciting industry. We are seeing real investment in new and existing orchards, and as an industry are committed to turning avocados into a major export earner for New Zealand.”

About New Zealand Avocado

The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand.

NZ Avocado Growers' Association Inc. (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council Ltd (AIC) work with the New Zealand industry to set export standards, facilitate market access, promote New Zealand avocados and provide technical information to all New Zealand growers of which there are over 1,450 based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. For more information visit www.nzavocado.co.nz or follow us on social @NZ_Avocado @Jen_Scoular @Midge_Munro

-ENDS-


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