Mexican avocado imports to the U.S. are expected to increase around 6% this winter compared to the same period last year, with as much as 2 billion pounds of avocados shipped from Mexico over the next several months.
“Mexico definitely has the volume this year to hit the 2 billion mark of imports to the USA,” Aaron Acosta, corporate relations manager for Pharr, Texas-based Villita Avocados, told FreightWaves. “Business has been steadily increasing, and pricing has helped make avocados this year affordable to a larger segment of the population.”
Acosta said the entire U.S. avocado importing industry has been seeing weekly loads of avocados from Mexico ranging from 850 to 1,400 pounds. Villita Avocados imports Hass avocados from the state of Michoacán in central Mexico, where 80% of Mexico’s avocados originate.
Over the past four years, Mexico has accounted for 89.5% of the United States’ imported fresh avocados, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Through September of this year, Mexico was responsible for $1.8 billion in avocado imports.
More than 60 percent of fresh Mexican avocados imported into the U.S. cross the border through the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge near McAllen, Texas, according to data from the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service.
Peru, Chile and the Dominican Republic also increased the number of avocados shipped to the U.S. through September this year, according to USDA data.
Whether or not the increased volume means lower prices at the supermarket remains to be seen.
“We can appreciate a healthy increase of 5% in prices compared to last year,” blogged Colin Fain, CEO of Agronometrics, which provides market intelligence for agriculture. Fain’s blog post was originally published on FreshFruitPortal.com Oct. 8.
“Price rises when volumes are equal are to be expected, as they reflect the growth of the category. Generally, this growth can vary from month to month, averaging about 6-10% year-on-year,” Fain wrote.
As of Nov. 22, fresh imported Hass avocados — the most popular variety in the U.S. — were priced at an average of $1.25 per avocado at 6,194 stores across the country, USDA data shows.
In July, average prices of fresh avocados across the U.S. were $2.10 per avocado, according to USDA data.
Acosta predicted avocados from Mexico will continue to soar in popularity in the U.S. Villita Avocados will be expanding its delivery infrastructure for imported fresh avocados with a new facility opening soon in the Phoenix area.
“The U.S. has and always will be the primary market for Michoacán [Hass] avocados,” Acosta said.