NZ avos break record for sales at $41m

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New Zealand's love affair with avocados has produced record-breaking domestic sales of $41 million during the 2015-16 season.

Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, today announced impressive end-of-season results of $134 million in industry value from export and New Zealand market sales.

Strong global demand also delivered outstanding returns from the Australian market and strong returns from the Asian export markets.

The value returned to the industry is an exceptional achievement almost matching the $135m posted for the 2014-15 season despite a much lower crop. But it was the $41m value of the New Zealand market that broke records, she said.

"Five years ago the New Zealand market achieved between $15m and $20m annually, without ever getting much above that. This year's return of $41m is 25 percent above last year's return of $31.8m and shows year on year growth of 17 percent since 2011."

Scoular credits strong collaboration across the industry, good communication, information sharing and jointly implemented promotional activities.

"In New Zealand, demand is growing at a phenomenal rate and we are seeing the emergence of diehard avocado lovers. Avocados are becoming a highly valued fruit due to their amazing health benefits," she said.

Avocado production has irregular swings in volume. This year 4.2m trays were sold, versus 7 million trays sold the year before. Of the 4.2m trays, 2.6m trays were exported, 1.2m trays were sold as fresh in New Zealand and 380,000 trays were processed into avocado oil and other products.

"The great news for consumers is that the 2016-17 season will start in New Zealand in late June with what is predicted to be a bumper crop," says Scoular.

The industry has added significant resource to the New Zealand market through the Primary Growth Partnership programme 'NZ Avocado Go Global', working alongside marketers and retailers to provide supply chain education and consumer education through PR and social media. Efforts by the industry are raising the visibility of the amazing health benefits and versatility of this New Zealand-grown fruit.

Andrew Darling, Chair of the Exporter Council, said the Australian market performed very strongly, with increased demand for the healthy avocado. He stressed the importance of strong relationships across the industry in New Zealand as well as with partners in export markets.

Ashby Whitehead, Chair of NZ Avocado, said growers will be very happy this season.

"The industry has worked very well across the supply chain to deliver an exceptional result in a moderate volume year. Grower returns are very good this year. As growers we are very happy with the success of our industry. "

Consumers in New Zealand can look forward to a much greater supply of avocados when the 2016-17 export season begins in August. The first crop estimate for the new season is 7.6m trays - nearly double the volume available last season.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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