With a continued focus on grower returns, Just Avocados has delivered positive outcomes through placement of New Zealand avocados in the international marketplace.

With the 2018/19 New Zealand avocado season behind us, we are now planning the 2019/20 season. We are still awaiting an industry crop estimate to be released, but the discussion internally and in the field suggests this year’s crop will be up on last year. Some indicative numbers suggest 4.0 – 4.5 million export trays.

Although the overall per tray export outcome will be below our initial expectations due to a challenging tail end market in Australia, we are very pleased with our Orchard Gate Return (OGR).

In summarising Just Avocados’ 18/19 season, we have achieved three strategic goals which we believe have had the greatest influence on our ability to maximise grower returns. These are:

  • Supplying retail in Australia directly
  • Growth in new market development in Asia – increasing our supply from 20% to a total of 28%.
  • Stock management control and speed to market through our new business model in Australia. Reduced fruit age means better quality fruit at market- and happy customers!

Last season, we had 65% of our total volume go into Australian retail, a milestone considering where we have come from in the last three years. The season review with retail was very positive.

Another very positive outcome is our average fruit speed age to retail in Australia. Our numbers indicate an average speed to retail of 21 days – with the shortest time period being 16 days -something we know our growers are benefiting from through our new third-party logistics model. Control of the whole cool chain is critical in delivering premium quality fruit.

An interesting article was published by Hort Australia and the summary is below:

 The average severity of flesh rots varied from 3–13% of flesh, across all New Zealand suppliers. In addition, there were two samples of New Zealand fruit which were near perfect quality. This variability suggests that although the underlying cause of the rots is likely to be pre-harvest related, differences in postharvest management may have contributed to the variability in level of rots. Temperatures through the cool chain; ripening practices; fumigation; days that fruit were held ripe; and time from harvest; are all likely to have contributed to the severity of rots. 

Just Avocados will have the 19/20 market plan completed for our Trustees review by early April, and this will include information regarding volumes into market and flow of fruit. The strategy will be to increase our volumes into Asia – aiming for a ratio of 50% in Asia and 50% in Australia. This strategy focuses on the maximisation of returns for the total crop. Harvesting heavy volumes earlier needs to be understood with regards to lower returns for growers, but it allows growers to maximise class one pack outs, reduce rot risk, reduce the possibility of fruit loss through weather events and, most importantly, a return crop year on year. The numbers modelled for this strategy suggest a very positive outcome for growers.

Just Avocados’ 18/19 season final returns will be communicated and reported once all receipts are repatriated. Your Grower Services Representative will be in touch at this time – likely to be late March/early April.

-Jacob Darling, GM Group Sales and Marketing