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Evy Van Gastel, Special Fruit:

"The transition period made this week's avocado prices skyrocket"

The avocado market is currently in transition, so the higher prices will continue for a while, says Evy Van Gastel of the Belgian company Special Fruit. "That transition between the winter countries of origin (Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Israel, and Chile) and the summer ones (Peru, Brazil, and Africa) usually peaks around Easter," she begins.

"Supply and demand are simply unbalanced, so prices skyrocketed this week. That will probably continue for some time after Easter. Then starting in week 16, significantly more volume will come onto the market from Peru. Cyclone Yaku delayed port logistics, so it delayed that somewhat too. That seems to have had a relatively limited impact, though, so once those volumes arrive, I expect some market relief."

Climate issues in countries like Spain and Morocco caused the somewhat persistently higher price market avocadoes are experiencing now. "It could have been far worse. Although those areas are having an 'off-season,' prices remained fairly in check. Colombia has just loaded, the first Peruvian products came to market fairly early, and South Africa also has nice volumes coming in. You could well say those overseas countries of origin saved us in recent weeks," Evy says.

She says a reason for that is that, every year, each of those countries of origin market more volume. "There have been vast plantings worldwide recently, and those plantations are now gradually coming into production. The supply side is, thus, generally growing organically. East African countries, like Kenya and Tanzania, are, for example, claiming an increasing share."

"More and more volumes are coming from there, which we're also increasingly profiling. In recent years, those countries have also been getting the necessary know-how through foreign investors and others. That's slowly but surely negating those areas' negative past reputation. In the summer, however, Peru remains the dominant country of origin," Evy confirms.

According to her, on the demand side, the economic situation is affecting avocado sales growth. "Demand stagnated somewhat in the past year. There are always countries with great growth potential, but where avocadoes are now an established store item, growth seems rather limited."

"It's therefore vital to keep promoting consumption. So, there's a lot of promotion being done in cooperation with the World Avocado Organization, among others, to revive avocado consumption. There's a lot of work around that behind the scenes, too," Evy concludes.

For more information:
Evy van Gastel
Special Fruit
36 Europa Street
2321, Meer, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 333 01 792

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