Strong Growth for Avocado Industry

NZAGA Chair Linda Flegg and CEO Jen Scoular

New Zealand’s avocado industry value eclipsed $227m in the 2020-21 season, with $167m delivered by avocado exports and $60m in sales in the New Zealand market.

"This is an extraordinary result for the avocado industry," expressed NZ Avocado CEO Jen Scoular.

"Facing the season with Covid lockdowns, significant freight disruption, an inability to meet face to face with customers and a small fruit profile, it is a credit to the entire value chain to achieve this record result."

The 2020 New Zealand avocado season produced a record export volume and total crop volume. 44,000 tonnes of avocados were harvested, with 5.1 million trays (5.5kg) exported to 11 export markets, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous season.

A total of 54 percent of New Zealand’s avocado production came from the Bay of Plenty region in 2020 with 39 percent coming out of the Northland.

NZ Avocado Growers’ Association Chair Linda Flegg said returns to growers for export and domestic avocados were very pleasing given the uncertainty at the beginning of the season around the impacts of Covid on the markets, and the disruption to global freight and logistics.

"Our avocado exporters and NZ marketers did extremely well to achieve successful outcomes for growers despite the challenges."

"Around 2.5 million trays worth over $60m were sold in New Zealand in the 2020 season. The New Zealand market is the second-largest market for New Zealand avocados and has seen significant growth in the past five years, from what was a $30m market in 2015," added Scoular.

"We continue to invest in avocado promotion in New Zealand to communicate the wonderful nutrients and versatility of avocados to New Zealand consumers."

A smaller average fruit size was another challenge encountered in 2020, with a significant increase in the percentage of small-sized avocados in the crop.

"Thankfully early indications show our fruit size is looking larger for the coming season and more in line with New Zealand’s historical avocado fruit size profile," said Flegg.

Further developing markets for avocados from New Zealand will remain a priority in 2021, with Australian domestic supply forecast to increase considerably this year and over the coming five years.

“Demand for avocados continues to increase in markets across Asia, the key challenge will be meeting export plans and delivering premium quality New Zealand avocados to these markets during a time of continued disruption to global freight and logistics."

Planning is underway to host the biggest avocado gathering in the world, the World Avocado Congress in 2023.

The four-yearly event represents an extraordinary opportunity for the avocado industry to come together in New Zealand from around the globe and showcase avocados to the world.

The opportunity is ripe for avocados and for the wider horticulture and agriculture sectors to share stories of New Zealand’s sustainable food production.