18 Aug 2016

'Biggest ever' avocado crop predicted

2:53 pm on 18 August 2016

Good news for avocado lovers: the season is under way, and volumes are expected to hit a record high.

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Photo: 123rf

Global avocado consumption has increased 10 percent every year for the past 11 years but the fruit follows a biennial cycle, with trees producing more fruit one year and less the next.

Heavy demand and a lack of supply last year drove the price up to $6 in some supermarkets, which led to avocado thieves targeting orchards and creating a black market for the bright green fruit.

But Avocado New Zealand chief executive Jen Scouler said there should be plenty to go around this season.

"The crop estimate is at 7.6 million trays, so a tray is 5.5kg and the most we've ever had before is 7.1 million trays, which was two years ago - so it's the biggest ever crop we've grown in New Zealand."

Avocado consumption was taking off, Ms Scouler said.

"We are certainly responding to a growing demand for avocados that is happening in New Zealand and globally.

"Growers are putting more investment into their orchards to get better yields, but there [are] also a lot of plants and new greenfield sites going into avocados around the north of the country."

The industry was halfway to its goal of reaching $280m in net sales by 2023, she said.