Avocado Market Growth – Empowering a Commercially Promising Wonder Fruit

Of the family Lauraceae of the order Laurales, the commercially important member the avocado (Persea americana Mill.) is a large pantropical family of about 50 genera and 2500 to 3000 species of mostly trees and some shrubs. This family includes species of economic and cultural importance, including the bay laurel, cinnamon, and sassafras. Despite the ancient cultivation history in Mexico and Central to South America of this fruit, its extreme worldwide popularity as an oily, nutty-flavored fruit with highly beneficial nutritional properties dates mainly from the early 20th century. With potentially independent cultivation, cultivated avocados occur in three landraces origins that reflect their current distribution: the Mexican, Guatemalan, and West Indian varieties.

The principal industrial avocado cultivar is known as Hass, after the grower who first patented it in 1935 which as per USDA constitutes 97% of the production, while Criollo and Fuerte comprise the remaining 3%. A vital crop to Mexico which is the exporter of the world with approx. 76% of total exports going to the United States. From a national perspective, the only state with phytosanitary clearance to export to the U.S. is Michoacán. According to (APEAM) Avocado Producer and Exporting Packers Association of Mexico around 1,145,362 MT of avocados certified for export during 2019-20, was produced in Michoacán, which was an increase by 5% from the preceding year.

avocado market

Besides, the avocado has become an established genetic model plant to elucidate ancestral floral development of angiosperms, to aid in understanding the evolution of angiosperm flowers from non-flowering seed plants. Further. With the potential benefits for growers that were reported to include enhanced tolerance of major debases and pest, higher and more regular yields of quality fruit with better postharvest characteristics as well as improved cultivars and rootstocks, leading botanists, evolutionary biologists, horticulturists, and taxonomists, have regarded the avocado as a model species for cutting-edge genomic research. Modern genomics research techniques such as genome mapping, partial genomic sequencing, and transcriptome sequencing, will be a major step in sequencing the entire avocado genome. In August 2019 it was reported that a multinational team of researchers has sequenced the genomes ofMexican, Guatemalan, and West Indian avocados, and the most commercially popular hybrid cultivar, Hass.  

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was performed with the rationale to sequence the avocado genome to make the species accessible to modern genomic-assisted breeding efforts. It encompassed the sequencing and analysis of the nuclear genomes of Mexican and Hass variety avocados as well as the resequencing of the genomes of Guatemalan and West Indian varieties. Avocado has a relatively long lifespan and these characteristics make it difficult for expediting efficient breeding programs. Thus genomic tools will make it possible to create faster and more effective breeding programs for the improvement of this increasingly popular fruit and laying the groundwork for future enhancement of farming propelling the global avocado market growth.

Mexican Avocado Exports

avocado market

In Tons

Source: USDA

Mexico is the largest exporter of Avocado in the world and is poised to augment the avocado market growth

Presently avocado occupies the position of the most commercially important tropical/subtropical fruit crops in the world. Before approx. 155 years ago, it was grown only by small-scale farmers in and adjacent to the area of origin and consumed locally, principally as part of indigenous agricultural systems. The levels of production and consumption of avocado have significantly increased during the past 150 years. Increased consumption rates among populations familiar with the fruit for one or more generations like those from Californian, USA, and Mexico, as well as the emergence of new markets and continuous expansion of the crop and accommodation of the fruit into an evolving palate in regions where it was previously unknown like China, are factors that are contributing to the noticeable increase in avocado production and trade.

From the perspective of trade, as per the communication in September 2020 by USDA, approximately 139,954 MT have been exported to other countries which includes Dubai and UAE (United Arab Emirates) by Mexico, which is a decline of 6% as compared to that of the preceding year due to the effects of COVID 19 pandemic as well as higher logistics costs. Formed in 2013, to assist with the prospects of the export, APEAJAL (Association of Producers Exporters of Avocado of Jalisco) have partaken in efforts that have been focused on export markets of Canada, France, Japan, and Spain. Mexico albeit being the largest exporter of the world also is reported to import minor quantities of avocado from California, with 591 MT imported during 2019-20

The growing popularity of avocado as a wonder fruit due to a myriad of health benefits is anticipated to drive the growth of the avocado market

It is considered as an ideal healthy food due to its number of documented benefits in general and by extension as avocado oil which is also growing. Some of the benefits include reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration, benign prostatic hypertrophy, cataracts, coronary heart disease, diabetes, as well as prostate and other cancers. Further, the capability of extending hepatoprotection and wound healing makes avocado oil an ideal plant-based cooking oil. The prospects for cold-pressed avocado oil appear to be enormous around the world. A shift from annual plant-based cooking oils to perennial plant-based cooking oil is anticipated to have profound positive agroecological effects, aiding in the reduction of soil erosion and fertilizer and pesticide run-off, while extending a relatively more conducive habitat to effectuate biodiversity conservation and creating an additional income source for farmers in coffee and cacao growing areas who’ incomes are contingent upon the volatility of the world markets of these commodities.

Besides, the benefits pertaining to health that is imparted by avocado oil that stems from the pigments present in the pulp, the avocado fruit, and avocado oil are increasingly acknowledged for their low saturated fats levels and high monounsaturated fats level which are quite akin to olive oil, substantiating their identity as a healthy food. Reduction of low-density lipoproteins aka “bad cholesterols” and increment of high-density lipoproteins levels aka good cholesterol is also the basis of growing avocado consumption. The 50% less fat and 35% lower calorie content of West Indian and Guatemalan–West Indian cultivars are grown in Florida have been marketed as a heart-healthy and reduced energy alternative to the ‘Hass’ avocado.