Seasons greetings – December 2021

By Jen Scoular

I hope you all enjoyed a safe and festive season. Many I spoke to decided not to travel this year, are we appreciating home more, or just that little bit less keen to venture out? Our growers, packers and marketers continued their hard work over the Christmas period, supplying eager consumers with wonderful avocados.

The New Zealand avocado industry has had a strategy for five years to increase export volumes to Asia and this season our exporters are achieving that in bucket loads, or more literally pallet loads. We will significantly increase the volumes going to Asia, with Korea the largest market in Asia followed by Hong Kong then Thailand. Twice as much New Zealand export avocado volume has already gone to Asia compared to last season and by the end of the season Asian consumers will have received more than three times as many avocados from New Zealand as the previous season. Our social media promotion activity across Asian markets is supporting those sales, egged on by on-going wonderful positive health messaging about avocados globally. I especially liked the new festive avocado recipes shared across New Zealand’s most popular lifestyle magazines, as well as Air New Zealand’s Kia Ora magazine in December.

How easy it is to add an avocado to most summer time dishes, from breakfast smoothies to delicious desserts? I swap avocados for eggs with my neighbours and truthfully, with a few lemons, tomatoes and greens from my garden I could nearly survive a lockdown. Not that we want that again.

Globally consumers are wanting to know we are producing food sustainably, and we have more than 20 projects underway to understand, measure and improve the sustainability credentials from orchard to market. Our competitors from South and Central America grow avocados in desserts, and need to answer consumers questions about the amount of water required to produce those avocados.

We know that our avocado growing regions receive more rainfall each year than is required to grow avocados, but that it doesn’t always fall in the right amounts at the right time. But across a year our trees do not require more water than what is supplied by the rainfall that year. We need to measure inputs onto our orchards and ensure we only use what the soil and trees need, and that we are feeding the with the correct nutrients at the right time. A bit like many of us in January, we need to check our own health, making sure what we eat and drink is measured against what our bodies need – certainly if we’ve treated ourselves and enjoyed an indulgent festive season! I hope you did, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I’m looking forward to the Katikati Avocado Food & Wine Festival on 15th January, I hope to see a few of you there.

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