The national tropical fruit campaign is coming to an end and the beginning of the counterseason campaign is in sight. We analyse the sector’s evolution in an interview with Juan Antonio Reyes, Manager of one of the reference companies, Reyes Gutiérrez.
The WAO predicts a 5% increase in avocado consumption up to 2025. With Covid, it seems this trend has increased, have you seen this? What growth forecasts do you have?
In 2020 we had an 8.5% growth compared to 2019. There have been several years when the growth figures were over 10%, but over the past two years, although consumption has grown a great deal, it is also true there are many more operators in the sector. As we well know, the pandemic has brought out our “chef” side and we have got down to making recipes that include avocados, encouraging the rising trend in avocado consumption.
This national avocado campaign is ending early compared to other years and with a lower volume. What is your view about this?
This year there has been less fruit due to the irregular spring we have had, together with the very hot weather at the beginning of August with unusually high temperatures of +49ºC, which meant that a great deal of fruit fell to the ground: around 30-35% of mangos and 15-20% of avocados. Logically, the calendar has been compressed and reduced. Normally, our programmes reach the beginning of May and this year, in the first days of April we had already virtually finished. Regarding the prices, the truth is they have been very good. In mangos, we have had an average of around 1.50€/Kg and in avocados, around 3€ for Hass and 2€ for green-skinned fruit. The producers are happy.
What forecasts do you have for the counterseason campaign?
A larger harvest is predicted in South Africa and particularly in Peru, where they are talking about a 25% growth, although that does not mean that much more fruit will arrive in Europe. Peru has become very well organised, opening up to more markets, such as its traditional and underdeveloped USA market, and particularly Asia, with China and Japan as references, but with more commercial areas in its portfolio. Add to that its neighbouring markets, such as Chile and Argentina, which should help to regulate and not put pressure on Europe, where, although it is growing at a good rate of 5-10% per year, quantities of over 700/750 containers per week from all the sources, over several weeks, could not be absorbed. Having said that, it is obvious that if they focus their exports on Europe, the market could become very complicated.
The Netherlands are increasing their avocado import volume (in 2020 this grew by 19%). What effect does this have on the Spanish import-export market?
The Netherlands have always been very dynamic in their fruit purchasing. Avocados and mangos have been turned into commodities; they have woken up the attention of importers of other fruits, meaning that imports have increased. We must never forget their marvellous logistics network infrastructure, reaching all the corners of the country, which helps them in their growth. But, it is also true that Spain has grown a great deal in imports; we have now reached 16%. I think that Spain’s potential to mobilise the market is increasing every day.
You have recently renewed your packaging image. What is involved in this change?
We have renewed our brand Casado and Casado Premium, changing the typography and colours, maintaining the original, classic essence of Reyes Gutiérrez. We have also brought out two new brands, Casamaroc and Reyes Gutiérrez Premium, both with designs that are completely adapted to today’s market: simple, original and premium. The Palta brand is continuing with its original identity and colours. We are also showcasing different 100% plastic-free packaging to guarantee environmental sustainability, an area where we have been committed from the very beginning.