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Avocado Imports Smash Records

New academic report reveals surge in consumption and $6.1B impact on U.S. GDP
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Avocado infographic
Avocado imports from Mexico to the U.S. are breaking records as demand continues to climb.

One particular item in the produce section is having a very big impact. A new report from Texas A&M University, affirms avocados' important spot in U.S. grocery carts, with a 61.2% leap in consumption over the past 30 years. 

The authors of the report, conducted for the Mexican Hass Avocado Import Association and the Association of Avocado Exporting Producers and Packers of Mexico, concluded that the contribution of imports of Mexican Hass avocados to the U.S. economy is “substantial and growing.” The researchers noted that avocado imports led to $11.2 billion in output or spending and $6.1 billion to the U.S. GDP, up from $1.2 billion a decade ago. Mexico accounts for nearly 90% of U.S. avocado imports.

[Read more: "Multicultural Grocers Drive Sales by Catering to Increasingly Diverse America"]

"The avocado import growth is attributed to two factors – dramatic growth in U.S. demand for avocados and equally dramatic growth in U.S. import supply," explained Dr. Gary Williams, emeritus professor at Texas A&M University. "U.S. per capita consumption of avocado fruit has grown to more than 9 pounds and promotion programs like Avocados From Mexico have been instrumental in increasing avocado consumption in the U.S."

The surge in demand can be attributed to several factors, according to the findings. The growing U.S. Hispanic and Caribbean population is a driver, as people create meals with familiar and common ingredients from their culture. The growing inclusion of avocados in restaurants and the intersection of consumer demand for ethnic and healthy food have also helped propel growth. Mexican Hass avocados, in particular, have been in demand for reasons related to quality, shelf-life, size, variety and the ability to determine ripeness.

As consumers' taste for avocados grows, the supply chain has kept pace. "Through Avocados From Mexico, consumers receive healthful avocados that are the freshest, since it’s a farm-to-table journey of three to five days,” pointed out Ana Ambrosi, director of corporate communications and public relations for the nonprofit marketing organization Avocados From Mexico.  

In a recent webinar, Ambrosi noted that the report reflects the dynamic market for the green-skinned fruit. “We’ve always said that the Mexican avocado industry is a win-win story for both the U.S. and Mexico, but you see that this is really a win-win-win scenario: The economic growth not only provides jobs and economic output in the U.S. and creates a lot of jobs in Mexico, but it also benefits consumers,” she said.

The full report is available for download online.  

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