Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Mexico exports record number of avocados to US

Mexico exported a record amount of avocados to the United States in the 12 months to the end of June, according to an organization dedicated to promoting Mexican-grown “green gold,” as the fruit is colloquially known due to its lucrativeness.

Some 1.13 million tonnes, or almost 2.5 billion pounds, of Mexican avocados were shipped to the United States in the year to June 30, according to Avocados from Mexico (AFM), the U.S.-based marketing arm of the Association of Avocado Exporting Producers and Packers of Mexico (APEAM).

Avocados at Central de Abastos Mexico City
Avocados, or “green gold”, have become a major Mexican export. (CDMX/ Wikimedia Commons)

That volume is more than 2% higher than the previous record for a 12-month period between July 1 and June 30.

“This is very exciting for us as we broke our historical record,” AFM president and CEO Álvaro Luque told the U.S.-based publication The Produce News.

“And we believe we will break the record again this year,” he added, referring to the period ending June 30, 2024.

Luque told The Produce News that the crop in Michoacán – Mexico’s largest avocado-producing state – for the coming year appears similar to that of the past year, while export volumes from Jalisco to the United States are growing quickly.

Avocado farm
An avocado farm in Michoacán, where the majority of Mexico’s avocados are grown. (Graciela López Herrera / Cuartoscuro.com)

Jalisco began exporting avocados to the U.S. a year ago after becoming the second Mexican state to be certified to do so.

Luque said that setting a new U.S. export record in the 12 months ending next June would be particularly special as AFM is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its foundation.

The record export volume shows that the marketing of AFM – which is well-known for its quirky commercials shown during television coverage of the Super Bowl – has been well received by U.S. consumers, the CEO said.

Luque, a native of Costa Rica, noted that AFM is committed to growing consumption of Mexican avocados in the United States through what he describes as “tentpole moments” – events that trigger an increase of avocado sales in U.S. supermarkets.

Guacamole
Guacamole has become a must-have snack at Superbowl parties in the U.S., causing a spike in avocado consumption every year. (Tessa Rampersad/ Unsplash)

The best-known such event is the Super Bowl, which many U.S. residents watch in their homes while snacking on guacamole. Over 250 million pounds (113.4 million kilograms or more than 113,000 tonnes) of Mexican avocados were exported to the U.S. in the weeks leading up to the big match last February, The Produce News Reported.

“The Super Bowl is an incredible step in our success story as a company. It is the largest marketing arena in the United States,” Luque told the website The Costa Rica News last month.

He also said that “guacamole and American football go hand in hand” and noted that Mexican avocados are the only ones available in the U.S. at the start of the year, when the Super Bowl match is played.

Exports of Mexican avocados to the U.S. also spiked in the lead-up to Cinco de Mayo celebrations, with volume up more than 60% over 2022 and 18% over the previous record set in 2021.

Luque said that AFM is undertaking a robust promotion campaign this summer because that’s when production in Jalisco peaks. The organization has previously toned down its promotion in the summer months as export volumes from Mexico typically decline and more product from California and Peru enters the U.S. market.

“The U.S. market is big enough for us and others players,” Luque told The Produce News.

“As the market has grown, we still have had our 85% market share. But I don’t worry about market share. Our goal is to make the pie bigger,” he said.

The federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) noted in a statement on Tuesday that Mexico is the world’s largest avocado producer with 2.54 million tonnes produced in 2022.

A 2022 study by the Texas A & M University found that Haas avocado exports to the United States from Mexico were worth US $4 billion in a 12-month period between 2021 and 2022, up from $2.5 billion two years earlier.

SADER said that 73.1% of Mexico’s avocados were grown in Michoacán last year, while 12.1% were produced in Jalisco and 5% in México state.

APEAM represents over 34,000 Mexican avocado farmers and more than 80 packing houses, according to the Avocado Institute of Mexico.

The United States is easily the biggest export market for Mexican avocado producers, but Mexican oro verde (green gold) is also shipped to numerous other countries including Canada, Japan, Spain, France and China.

With reports from The Produce News 

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