Because of a very big crop from Mexico, organic avocados have had an FOB price that's been suitable for retail and foodservice promotions for many months—and experts say the situation should remain intact for at least a couple more months.
“Over the last 90 days, we have seen good retail support for organic avocados,” said Gahl Crane, sales director at Eco Farms in Temecula, California. “Price [at retail] has hovered just under $2 … between $1.50 and $2 per piece. That’s a fairly good price. It’s a good price for consumers and a good price for retailers and growers. There might be an uptick in price in the coming months, but there still should be plenty of fruit to sell.”
Gahl Crane, Sales Director, Eco Farms Avocados
Crane said there will be organic avocados to promote, but the best values will be at the lower end of the size spectrum. Because of a mild spring and a cool summer, avocados in both California and Mexico have had difficulty sizing. On the organic front, 48s and larger have been in shorter supply, while there have been very promotable FOB prices available on 70s and smaller.
With the 4th of July holiday just three weeks away, Crane said there should be good options for organic avocado promotions. “Fourth of July is a big avocado holiday,” he said. “Organic avocados should get their fair share of promotional support.”
Eco Farms organic avocados
Looking ahead, he said California shippers will see peak week shipments through July and into August. “We should also see good volume [on] organic avocados from Mexico,” he said, but he did add that Peruvian organics will be needed to fill the supply gap on the larger-sized organic fruit as the summer wears on.
“Fourth of July is a big avocado holiday. Organic avocados should get their fair share of promotional support.” - Gahl Crane
Patrick Lucy, President of Del Rey Avocado Company in Fallbrook, California, had a very similar report. “The fruit is not sizing very well,” he said on June 13. “It’s cloudy everyday, with very little sunshine. We are supposed to get some sun over the next few dates, but it’s probably too late [to impact the size of the fruit].”
Patrick Lucy, President, Del Rey Avocado
He added that organic avocado promotions are definitely size dependent. “There are a lot of promotable opportunities for 60s and 70s,” Lucy said. “The price of 48s is at a premium, and 40s and larger are nonexistent.”
He said organic avocados have been getting good support from the retail sector, though he has heard complaints that some retailers have not adjusted the retail price enough to reflect the lower FOB price this season. Lucy said there are many factors involved in that, including the impact of inflation and potentially smaller margins in center store, which might cause some retailers to look to produce to make up some of that margin loss.
Del Rey Avocado organic avocados
“But avocados are still a top 3 or top 5 item, and they are promoted as such,” Lucy said.
Carson McDaniel, vice president at McDaniel Fruit Company in Fallbrook, California, said the organic avocado crop is very much mirroring the conventional crop this year, meaning that it is facing the same challenges. “It’s a very parallel market on supply and demand,” he said. “And the sizing issues are the same. With the cooler weather, the fruit just isn’t sizing. Typically, the size curve peaks between the 48s and 40s, but this year it is peaking on the smaller sizes.”
Carson McDaniel, Vice President, McDaniel Fruit Company
He did say that the weather pattern in California, which hasn’t been beneficial to the sizing of the fruit, has resulted in the production of fruit of “phenomenal quality.”
“It’s a very parallel market on supply and demand. And the sizing issues are the same. With the cooler weather, the fruit just isn’t sizing. Typically, the size curve peaks between the 48s and 40s, but this year it is peaking on the smaller sizes.” - Carson McDaniel
McDaniel said it has been a challenging season because of the strong supply of Mexican avocados for the past six months or so, but he was optimistic for the weeks ahead. “We are approaching the Fourth of July which is a huge avocado promotion opportunity,” he said. “We are having conversations with retailers, and we will have promotable supplies.”
Gary Clevenger, Managing Member, Freska Produce International
Gary Clevenger, managing member at Freska Produce International in Oxnard, California, echoed the comments of the others on promotional opportunities for organic avocados. “We have a lot of 60s, 70s, and 80s, with good price points,” he said, adding that a carton of organic avocados can be bought in the $25-$30 range, which is very promotable.