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Market strengthening on California avocados

Overview of the California avocado season by Marji Morrow of the California Avocado Commission, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.

Original published in on August 31, 2021 

As California avocado growers work towards winding down their season, there’s still approximately 6-7 million lbs. of the popular fruit expected this week from the state. Of the 2020-2021 California crop, that puts the crop at about 92-95 percent complete.

“Weekly shipments are about 2 million pounds less than this same time last year. At this point last season, the California crop was about 82-85 percent complete,” says Jan DeLyser, vice-president marketing for the California Avocado Commission based in Irvine, CA. DeLyser notes that California’s inventory continues to be good on all sizes but with fruit peaking on 48s. The season is expected to wrap up by the end of September into the beginning of October.

Volumes (in Kg) of avocados from California in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

As for demand, it continues to be strong for California avocados--similar to last year at this time. “The key difference is the expectation that this year’s season will end earlier than in 2020,” adds DeLyser.

Currently the fruit is largely being distributed to Western markets to fill demand for locally grown produce. “Our marketing objective is to achieve the premium price warranted by the outstanding avocados grown by California farmers,” she says.

Price (in USD) of avocados from California in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Room for growth

Like others in the ag industry, the biggest challenges California growers face right now are the ongoing drought conditions along with maintaining a stable, skilled workforce. “California avocado growers are acutely aware of the importance of water and are vigilant in utilizing technologies to ensure optimum water use efficiencies throughout their groves,” DeLyser says.

As for the market for California fruit, it’s seen an increase in value over the last few weeks and is significantly higher than the same time last season. “This said, the season-to-date average lug price for California avocados is the same as last year,” says DeLyser.

DeLyser says that overall avocado category purchase dynamics data and consumer trends indicate there’s still quite a bit of room for avocado consumption growth. “This is true in lesser developed markets such as some regions in the middle of the country as well as in the most developed markets such as California. There also is significant room for growth outside of the U.S.,” she says.

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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