By choosing to operate in a collaborative way, rather than competitively, New Zealand’s two largest avocado exporting businesses Primor Produce Ltd and Southern Produce Ltd created AVOCO™ in 2013, dedicated to bringing efficiencies and gain through the whole supply chain.
“We realised in an increasingly challenging international market that we needed to pull together to ensure future volumes could be consistently delivered to our customers and in so doing, provide our growers with the best possible returns,” says Steve Trickett, AVOCO’s Marketing and Communications Manager.Steve has had 35 years in the fresh produce marketing sector including 20-plus years in avocados and is passionate about the future of the fruit.
AVOCO exports throughout Australia and to Asian markets where the fruit is marketed under the “AVANZA” brand.“It’s a great fruit, is highly nutritious, extremely versatile, stores and travels well from a shipping perspective, with sea freight being the major mode of delivery to our main overseas markets.”
Steve says that positive results were seen within a year of AVOCO forming, with greater volumes and price stability giving their valued grower members much more certainty.Given the company’s consistently successful 6-year track-record, growers who were using other marketing businesses and have become somewhat disillusioned are increasingly turning to AVOCO to take care of marketing their crop.
While Australia continues to be AVOCO’s largest export market Steve says the company’s attention is increasingly turning to the opportunities Asia presents, with the recently opened China market a prime example.“Across Asia our fruit is considered a good product with a unique flavour and texture profile.
“Consumers also have a very favourable perception of the clean and green image New Zealand invokes and we’re able to supply when some competitor countries such as Mexico often struggle with quality,” Steve explains.Both Primor and Southern Produce have continued to operate separately in terms of engaging with their grower clients and combined have 800+ orchardists on their books.
Steve says it’s interesting to see continued expansion in the industry, with more orchards particularly in the mid and far north regions, where larger corporate avocado growing enterprises have established significant orchards extending upward of 200ha in area.
“It can take up to 5 years to get your first commercial crop, so this development is especially positive and speaks to the growers and investor’s confidence in the future.”Currently 70% of AVOCO volume is still produced by growers in the Bay of Plenty. Steve says that while there’s been a period of ‘Avomania’ about, he and the AVOCO team are conscious of some potential clouds on the horizon.
He says while New Zealand’s geographic location puts us closer to the Asian market arena than other Avocado exporting nations such as Mexico and Chile, the key to expansion and growth in volume throughout Asia is the ability to develop consistency of supply. “That’s what these markets want to know. That they can be guaranteed consistent supply of top quality fruit.”
The exporting season generally runs from late August through to early February and during the first half of that period New Zealand still experiences volatility in weather which can impact on harvesting plans and fruit quality.“We are getting much better at researching factors that impact on quality and getting smarter around picking especially when there are rain events on the forecast.”
This article was brought to you in association with the following businesses…
- Golden Mile Fruitpackers Ltd