Just back from the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) Annual Convention & Trade Show in Vancouver, West Pak Avocado is excited at the prospect of expanding distribution into the northernmost region of North America. After the first year for the avocado company to exhibit at CPMA, the takeaways so far are promising.
“Canada is very much a growing market for avocados,” said West Pak Avocado CEO Mario Pacheco. “As a nation, our northern neighbors are one of the largest consumers of avocados. If you look at that compared to the population of Canada at nearly 37 million people, or just under half a percent of the world population, that’s a high percentage of people that consume this healthy green fruit. It does put things into perspective.”
One of six avocado suppliers exhibiting at CPMA, West Pak proudly took their place as one of the top three in terms of company size and distribution capabilities. As growers and packers in both California and Mexico, and with a host of value-added services, West Pak can bring much to the table.
“I believe one of the things that makes us a definite player in this market is that we can offer the Canadians premium fruit from several countries of origin,” said Eastern Regional Sales Manager Scott Ross. “We are well-positioned in Mexico and California, and we have the ability to offer Chilean and Peruvian avocados as well.”
Although the Canadians are a very quality conscious country and their consumers want freshness, they also want good value. “The Canadians are savvy to Mexican fruit, which is what’s mostly brought up to the region,” adds Vice President of Global Sourcing and International Business Development Kellen Newhouse. “It all comes down to a price point for them, as fruit out of Mexico can be imported at less cost than from the states. The beauty is that West Pak can do that for them and still maintain the highest quality. We grow our own fruit in Mexico and have our own packing houses. That way we can oversee the supply as well as the quality and consistency of what comes out of our facilities and is ultimately delivered to the customer. That speaks volumes to buyers in Canada!”
Touted as Canada’s largest trade show dedicated to the fruit and vegetable industry, CPMA took place April 24 – 26, 2018. The 2018 show attracted approximately 3000 participants from all segments of the produce supply chain and showcased produce from around the world.
“Exhibiting at CPMA is a major deal for Canadian importers,” said Christine Connell of West Pak’s Export Sales division. “Essentially it’s an important and highly credible place for a produce supplier to have a presence. And based on the level of the contacts obtained and deals in the works, our presence was definitely noticed.”
Connell adds, “This year, fortunately, West Pak was able to secure a spot on the show floor, which was a major deal. The significance is that the show is challenging to get into as an exhibitor. CPMA organizers give the exhibitors from the previous year first right of refusal for the next year, so in 2019 we will get back into it, which precisely is what we wanted. Next year, CPMA will take place in Montreal and we’re already on board. In fact, we’re excited about it! We are as thrilled to exhibit at CMPA and maintain our presence as we are to expand our avocado family north into Canada.”
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) is a not-for-profit organization that represents companies that are active in the marketing of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables in Canada from the farm gate to the dinner plate. CPMA’s vision is to enable and lead the produce industry by enhancing the market and facilitating trade of fresh fruits and vegetables for its members. For more information about CPMA, please visit www.cpma.ca.