Despite lower volumes, avocado producers are doing well

Recently-appointed SAAGA chairperson, Kosie Eloff, shared the following observations about the current avocado season…

- Advertisement -

“The season is going very well, although volumes are lower than last year, when 15 million cartons were exported, compared with the expected 13 million cartons this year. Both quality and prices are good, with the latter performing above expectations in Europe.

The export market continues to grow despite increased supplies from Spain, Israel, Peru and Mexico. Hail damage in Nelspruit and KZN during the summer rainfall season did not affect most farmers too badly. There is good demand for avocados in the local market and because there is no oversupply, prices are firm for this time of the year, both on the fresh produce markets and for direct sales.

In general, there is optimism about the 2015 season despite a smaller crop, as it is expected that prices will compensate for lower volumes.”

- Advertisement -

Local promotions
To generate publicity as part of the 2015 ‘Add an Avo’ public relations campaign, members of the food media were presented with avocado picnic hampers. The campaign aims to strengthen media relationships. In addition to the initial press release and photographs sent out at the beginning of the 2015 season, snippets of information on the ‘Add an Avo’ campaign have been released every second month to keep the fruit top of mind. 

A number of large retailers have also taken part in various avocado promotions such as in-store tastings, and hundreds of thousands of recipe flyers have been inserted into punnets and bags of avocados. With wastage an ongoing problem for retailers, studies have been conducted to establish the reasons for this as well as possible solutions. Information on the proper care and handling of avocados have been made available to retailers and informal traders. 

In addition, the ‘Add an Avo’ campaign was actively promoted at the fresh produce markets at Johannesburg, Cape Town and Tshwane to encourage informal traders to buy more avocados. This was followed by outdoor promotions at taxi ranks and advertising on billboards on the M1 South and M1 North motorways in Johannesburg. Consumer education programmes on the different varieties and health benefits of avocados have also been held at retail stores nationally, as well as clinics in Gauteng.

The hospitality sector plays a major role in promoting avocados and SAAGA believes in encouraging young chefs to add avocado to their recipes. Culinary schools have therefore again been invited to take part in an avocado recipe competition.

SAAGA is also sponsoring the South African Chefs’ Association’s National Junior Culinary Olympic Team for the 2016 Culinary Olympics in Germany.

In addition, social media continue to be one of SAAGA’s strongest communication mediums and its Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest presence continues to grow.