By Jacob Darling

People often say to us in the avocado industry that between seasons we must have an opportunity to take a break but we all know it’s just not the case! It has been as busy as ever and we have utilised every moment completing customer visits, season planning, confirming market commitments, and this year we have had the added task and excitement of developing a new brand for our avocados and other lines for Darling Group.

JH Leavy & Co has recently been approved as an inspection and treatment facility for Fresh Produce, Nursery Stock and Cut Flowers. This is another step in Darling Group’s vertical integration strategy.

From an avocado perspective this will help us significantly around clearance delays, whereby we can now control the movement of stock from the wharf right through to the customer. This is a huge plus when looking at the need for efficiency at the end of the season where we are presented with a large volume of high maturity fruit.

This will take out significant time delays and costs in the supply chain for our New Zealand avocado growers.

Overall the market outlook remains positive for the start of the New Zealand season. Our strategy is for a heavy push early in the season into the Asian markets and then optimising the late season Australian window.

The east coast volumes out of QLD and NSW remain strong with the Australian market currently trading around the AUD $30.00 – $34.00. Our market intelligence suggests this will firm over the coming weeks, which we have worked our harvest plan around.

Californian fruit remains in Korea which is expected considering the early start date of New Zealand harvest however, demand for New Zealand fruit is beginning to lift as the Californian volume drops.

China is a fantastic opportunity for Darling Group and Just Avocados. This opportunity allows us to access another premium market that is capable of taking significant volumes at premium prices.

As shared with you at the Just Avocados season review meetings in May, Darling Group has embarked on a strategy to get closer to the retail chains and deliver our customers with a 12-month supply of our key lines of avocado and citrus.

We have made our 12-month supply strategy possible through securing a network of partnerships in Australia and North America (adding to our already established New Zealand base with Just avocados).  The most recent partnership developed is with avocado specialist, GreenFruit Avocados in North America.

This partnership means we can source from the popular Mexican growing regions Jalisco and Michoacán. On August 1, GreenFruit opened a new packhouse in Mexico, and it is here where it will commence the supply of avocados to our programme.

We believe through offering a consistent standard of quality under the same brand for 365 days a year we have a significant point of difference and can offer a service that returns our growers a premium.

We are excited about our new brands which have been a hit in the international market so far.  They have resonated with our
in-market partners who are enthusiastic about our premium offering and the fun brand characters. The  range includes Darling Avocado, Darling Lemon, Darling Mandarin and Darling Orange.

The brand line-up also includes the variations Jake’s Avocado, Lucus lemon, Nathan’s Mandarin and Tippa’s Orange which have been developed specifically for China (and USA) and are based on the essence of Darling Group’s family values.

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