Keith Blanchard of Index Fresh Discusses Dynamic Avocado Market
RIVERSIDE, CA - Volatile avocado markets have been the hallmark of recent seasons for the popular category, but as we look to the end of winter and the beginning of spring, retail and foodservice buyers can expect promotional opportunities with amazing partners like Index Fresh. Keith Blanchard, California Field Manager, took a beat from his day to talk me through the pulse of the market as we gain ground in 2020.
“We are currently underway with an excellent harvest in California and Mexico. Shipments have been good throughout the U.S., and Peru is estimated to export 200 million pounds to the U.S. starting in June and will be in the market through August,” Keith shares with me. “This winter, with an early start in California, we have been fortunate to be able to offer avocados from both California and Mexico to our customers.”
On the horizon for the spring, Index Fresh is very excited to be offering the California GEM variety to select customers with the company gearing up to start the GEM harvest in early April.
“This is our third season packing the GEM variety. We believe that the GEM is a great addition to the avocado category and has proven itself as a stand-alone variety,” Keith tells me. “The handling characteristics are like that of the Hass avocado so the end-user will have a positive experience trying the fruit for the first time.”
Keith adds that volumes are very good this season from all countries of origin and with the estimated supply of three billion pounds in the U.S., retailers will have very good promotable volumes from each country of origin.
“These conditions are a great benefit, allowing Index Fresh to develop tailored programs for retailers that meet their specific needs. California has a good crop that is tracking close to 400 million pounds—and almost 70 percent increase from last season—and will be in the market through September,” Keith says.
As a grower-owned company that is owned and managed by avocado growers, Index Fresh has a unique philosophy with its grower programs.
“We take pride in our grower services and superior grower returns. The recent past seasons have had severe volatility in the market supply. Index Fresh differentiates ourselves from our competition by offering a complete grower education program, that includes educational seminars and field meetings with our professional agronomist,” Keith wraps up.
With a promising California avocado season to support all countries of origin, keep checking back with AndNowUKnow for more on the market and upcoming promotional opportunities.