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Final payments have been made and season summaries sent to all growers who exported with Just Avocados in the 2017-18 season.  Meetings took place in Katikati, Whangarei and Houhora to share the highlights and results of the year – which by all accounts was a record year with fantastic outcomes.  We are proud to say – WE HAVE DELIVERED!

Record returns were presented to Just Avocados suppliers, showing a 46% increase over results for the previous season.

Our fresh strategy, flexible model, and time related incentive were all drivers for the positive results.

“Returns were strong across the board; however, our time premium payment, which kicked in from week 50, delivered particularly strong returns upwards of $40 per tray, for those who took advantage of the incentive,” says Jarrod Redwood, GM Operations and Grower Services .

Jarrod says suppliers have benefitted from the unique Just Avocados model which caters for a range of growers with a range of needs.

“Our model delivers a range of returns based on what decisions growers make about when they want to pick and this is influenced by a variety of drivers including orchard health and revenue. We enjoying working with them to deliver the outcome that will maximise their returns and suit their personal and business goals.”

A change in marketing strategy for 2017-18 meant a focus on specific markets and sales channels that targeted premium customers. Jacob Darling GM Sales and Marketing for Darling Group, who represents Just Avocados’ fruit in export markets, says that this strategy was a significant change from historic pre-programmed sales.

“We targeted Asia early in the New Zealand season and held back the majority of crop for a high paying post-Christmas Australian market.
Jacob says Just Avocados set goals for increasing business, volumes, and values into Asia and increasing their market share in Australian retail.

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“The retail share of our Australian programme has significantly increased from 18% to 75% over two seasons. It’s something we have focused on and we are going to continue to drive this into next season and take a more direct approach,” says Jacob.

Jacob says that Australian retail is the core driver of value out of the Australian market and allows the company to consistently move a high volume of fruit at good prices.

“In times when the market is fully supplied, we see a gap between retail and wholesale prices, with retail holding greater value. This highlights the importance of Australian retail in the long term.”

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The Just Avocados team also shared how the programme of field days, technical articles and advice has helped to upskill growers and aims to increase productivity in coming seasons. Erica Faber, Orchard Productivity Manager, has focused on avocado nutrition over the past season and is seeing positive results in orchards.

“We are working with growers to increase health in orchards with marginal trees as it is essential to  get the balance in the tree correct before we can work on pushing greater production – we are already seeing good results in subsequent nutrition analyses.”

Given the growth cycle of the avocado, Erica says it takes two seasons to see changes in production once nutrient balance has been corrected.

Looking ahead to what’s on the agenda for 2018-19, Just Avocados, currently the only packhouse and exporter in New Zealand officially registered to export avocados to China, is preparing growers for this significant opportunity.

Jacob says the rigorous auditing of Just Avocados’ operations by Chinese officials in January was challenging but the hard work has just begun in this market.

“The opening of the market is just the beginning; the real test will be educating the consumer to pay a premium for New Zealand avocados.”

Increasing the direct to retail opportunity in Australia and continuing to capture high value segments in Asia remain focuses for the coming season also.