The new season avocado market is always a challenging yet rewarding period to engage. This season has started extremely well, limited early season passes have made for a stable market and the ability to plan and execute a programme with confidence.

Demand has been driven in sizes 24/30 which have offered slightly better retail price points. As retail values decline large fruit sizes will start to become more attractive as currently 16 to 20 sized fruit are quite expensive and demand for this size range has been minimal. This will even out over the next week or so.

Four weeks into the season and we now have more orchards clearing across the industry and other marketers are vying for access after a period on the side-line. The key issue is that they need to maintain discipline around ripening and pricing – something that was lacking from a couple of early entrants this season.

Our programme has been tracking well. Ripening time-frames are five to seven days and fruit condition has been excellent to this point. Reports from our retail customers are indicating that maturity levels are more consistent this season and feedback on eating quality has been good.

Our promotional calendar has commenced and we have an ongoing spread of adverts in place with our retail partners. This will reset retail sell-values to a lower level and generate increased consumer interest. This is vital after some negative media messages during the off-season window. Values have dropped incrementally from early season highs whilst maintaining good cool-store door values. The higher early season values are now disappearing which is to be expected as fruit volume increases across the market and previously empty sectors fill up.

Looking ahead we see a buoyant retail market supported by promotional activity and good quality product. Values will sit between $30.00 and $40.00 at cool-store door (supermarket promotions $30.00 to $35.00 / non-promotion $35.00 to $40.00). These prices can be maintained as long as marketers take a responsible approach and do not try to buy market access through discounting values.

We will update you all again next week.