Rapid growth in avocado exports to Thailand continues to surge, driven by health awareness and New Zealand avocado nutrient benefits.
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters officially opened the New Zealand avocado season launch event in Bangkok on October 3, heralding the growing consumption of the fruit in Thailand.
The event showcased the increasing popularity of New Zealand avocados in Thailand and was hosted by New Zealand avocado ambassador Patcharasri "Kalamare" Benjamas and catered by celebrity Thai chef Ian Kittichai at his Cuisine Concept kitchen in Bangkok.
New Zealand Trade Commissioner Ryan Freer commended the ongoing success and growth of the New Zealand avocado industry and commented on the strong relations being built between New Zealand and Thailand.
"Thailand is a leading market for New Zealand avocado consumption growth in Asia. We have seen a growing interest from Thai consumers seeking premium imported produce from New Zealand, and New Zealand avocados are benefiting from a healthy diet and lifestyle trend," Mr Freer said.
NZ Avocado CEO Jen Scoular said mandatory industry standards and innovative systems are keys to enable New Zealand to produce and consistently supply premium quality, safely farmed, sustainable avocados.
"As a result, New Zealand avocados are gaining more popularity and preference in Thailand and global export markets."
Demand for NZ avocados in Thailand has experienced significant growth in the past five years, from 3000 trays imported in 2013 to a forecast 150,000 trays for 2018. One tray is equal to 5.5kg. Premium NZ avocados are being sought out in Thailand by culinary experts, foodies and those seeking a healthier lifestyle.
"The avocado is now becoming more of a staple ingredient in households and restaurants in Thailand — people appreciate the delicious, creamy taste and the nutritional benefits," said chef Ian Kittichai of television's Iron Chef, Master Chef and owner of Issaya Restaurant, Silom.
The New Zealand avocado season runs from September through to March the following year.
New Zealand grown avocados have unique nutrient qualities, containing double the vitamin B6 and 20 per cent more folate than those grown in other parts of the world.
Vitamin B6 helps fight fatigue and folate is an essential nutrient for mothers and development of children and infants.