Westfalia Fruit Americas Angela Tallant Discusses WAC, New Avocado Markets, and Company Growth
OXNARD, CA - When looking into what it means to have been around for more than 70 years, I saw black-and-white photos, post-World War II reports, and a world of radio and actual newspapers. It’s hard to imagine the Westfalia Fruit Group beginning in this era and remaining committed to responsible agribusiness to the present. Not only has it done this, though, but the team remains passionate about the quality of its produce and the environment where it is grown or processed—an environment that continues to expand.
“Westfalia Fruit’s avocado estates are operated in all major regions, including southern Africa, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and California in the USA,” shares Angela Tallant, Director of Sales at Westfalia Fruit Americas, based in Oxnard, California.
As we discuss Westfalia Fruit’s long history and its world-wide expansion in both foodservice and retail, one aspect we fall on of the company’s extensive stewardship practices is that of the upcoming World Avocado Congress.
“Westfalia Fruit played an instrumental role in establishing the first-ever World Avocado Congress (WAC) event, which was hosted in South Africa in 1987, and has continued to actively support and promote industry collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the implementation of sustainability best practices,” Angela explains.
The WAC brings together some of the industry’s greatest leaders and experts. As Angela puts it, if you have a passion for the avocado industry, this is your opportunity to meet and network with industry professionals, hear about recent international research, and more. All of which is up Westfalia Fruit’s alley.
“Westfalia Fruit is responsible for breeding world-leading rootstocks like Dusa® that are Phytophthora-tolerant, and thus a more sustainable solution than the constant use of chemicals. The breeding of new varieties that provide a greater yield is also an innovation that Westfalia Fruit has shared with the industry,” Angela says.
And the team happens to be expanding itself in the very country WAC is coming to this year, seemingly shining a light on the future of avocado growth.
“We are excited WAC is coming to Colombia, where we have recently built our second packhouse in this country. We are entering into the time of the year where California season will end and Peru will stop shipping fruit into the U.S., and Mexico is the only origin of fruit to supply U.S. demand. And it, too, is in the midst of a seasonal transition at this time,” she shares.
Angela explains that, at times, Mexico’s summer crop does not have enough fruit to stretch out into the next crop, some seasons prompting a gap in supply. During this time, markets can become volatile, with a number of contributing factors.
“The groves that are certified to ship into the U.S. have trees that are still young, however, in time, Colombia will be in its peak season during this crop transition and will be a secondary origin that can feed the U.S. demand. Product can arrive within seven days of harvest, so the origin can react quickly to offer relief during times of short supply or rising prices in the avocado market,” Angela explains. “The fruit is excellent quality, as it is grown in ideal climate and soil for avocados, similar to those in Mexico.”
Another source Westfalia Fruit is currently investigating is South Africa, where Tallant says shipments to the U.S. could potentially start next year, if the necessary phytosanitary and regulatory approvals are received.
“We are looking into the possibility of shipping avocados from South Africa to the United States as soon as 2020. U.S. demand continues to increase each year and, as a group, Westfalia Fruit is trying to stay ahead of the curve to ensure sufficient supplies to meet the growing demand, while also diversifying our sources,” she concludes.
We’ll certainly be keeping our eye on this and other moves for growth within the produce industry at AndNowUKnow.