With California avocado season officially underway, West Pak Avocado, a California-based avocado supplier, saw record volume in February.
“Between a later big game this year and the week-long hiccup in supply from Mexico, California fruit saw a record 10.2 percent market share in February,” said Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Doug Meyer. “At this point, over 10 percent of the California fruit for the season has been harvested, which is typically only a few percent by the end of February.”
Early preseason forecasts by the California Avocado Commission (CAC) project a 15 percent increase in volume over 2021 with a 306-million-pound crop in 2022, with the Hass variety making up the majority of the harvest. Most of the California avocado season volume is expected to occur from mid-April through mid-July, with the season winding down during the months of August, September, and October.
“We are hoping for good rainfall totals in March to help the fruit size-up for growers,” added Meyer. “We want a good distribution of sizing by mid to late April, which is when we typically see the first major uptick in harvest volume of locally-grown avocados in preparation for Cinco de Mayo.”
“The California avocado season is my favorite time of year,” Meyer continued. “I love seeing the avocados coming in from the groves and hearing our packing facility buzzing with activity. Additionally, customers and consumers in the core markets get really excited about the season and all of the opportunities that are made possible by California avocados.”
For 2021, the Hass Avocado Board lists the volume of California avocados at 251,593,334 pounds, which is just under 9 percent of the almost 3 billion pounds total incoming volume of avocados arriving in the U.S. market from all suppliers. California avocados remain a valued commodity despite a relatively small share of the avocado market. But why are avocados from California so special, and what is it that drives consumers so crazy for them?
Many people see California’s unique growing conditions as the perfect place to grow this coveted superfood. Nearly 3000 growers have chosen the golden state’s fertile soil, sunny weather, and cool coastal breezes to plant their trees and grow their avocados, ensuring that consumers can enjoy the fruit’s buttery texture and creamy taste.
An increased interest in healthy eating has driven the demand for heart-healthy avocados, which boast a contribution of nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. According to Rabo Research, per capita consumption of avocados in the U.S. currently stands at 9 pounds but could surpass 11 pounds by 2026.
The popularity of California avocados is evident based on the increase of restaurants opting to call out the local favorite on menus and in displays and packaging on the retail side.
“For our retail customers, West Pak offers the California Gold brand of bagged avocados. This eye-catching bag is filled with either conventional or organic California fruit and features the American Heart Association’s Health-Check mark, proving that our avocados meet the organization’s criteria for heart-healthy food,” added Meyer. “We were the first avocado supplier to produce a dedicated bagged avocado offering specifically for the California season, and California Gold has remained a top seller ever since.”
Avocados are virtually the only fruit with monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, or good fats, making them an ideal substitute for foods high in saturated fat. Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Avocados are a good source of fiber (3g per 50g serving) and are an excellent fresh fruit option to help boost fiber intake.