Let's talk about avocados
01 January 2017
A fine fruit – but difficult to get it right.
In recent years the demand for avocados has rocketed; not just in Europe, but around the world. Avocados are packed full of nutrients, so modern health trends combined with the Ready To Eat concept have been driving the growth in consumption over the last 15 years.
The avocado is, nonetheless, a complex product, and one of the most complained about items in the supermarket. There is no easy way for the average consumer to gauge the ripeness or quality of an avocado – even a premium priced fruit – and it is very frustrating to be preparing a dish, only to find that your avocado is under ripe, over ripe, full of holes or spoilt by other internal blemishes. Since avocados ripen after harvest, quality is complex, and variability between fruits can be high. It is therefore very difficult to ensure quality at every point in the supply chain.
Worldwide Fruit imports and supplies avocados to supermarkets and leading retailers. We spoke to them to find out what measures are taken at the packaging stages to ensure a premium fruit.
Innovative Fresh - Avocados from Pink Sky on Vimeo.
Firstly they are looking for good harvesting practices from the best growers in the right climate. Problems can occur at many stages, with variables including orchard conditions, disease, maturity at picking, transport damage, temperature and controlled atmosphere. They then ensure that the avocados are supplied from the appropriate country at each stage of the season. At the moment, the best fruits are coming in from Peru.
Cool chain management, ripening expertise and proper grading and selection after ripening are essential to ensure good eating quality for consumers.
Avocados arrive rock hard and unripe, and are then treated in a ripening chamber. Further tests then grade them to check the ripeness, and also internal and external damage.
Worldwide Fruit aims to achieve consistent ripening and a high level of dry matter, though it is the oil which is important for the flavour. Avocados need a minimum of 13% oil content.
In order to help achieve this consistency, Worldwide Fruit is committed to developing a good relationship with the growers. They are encouraging them to plant more trees to keep pace with the current demand, and are selective to the point that all fruit delivered must have the potential to ripen well and taste fantastic!
Innovative Fresh monitors the quality of avocados on the retail shelf in stores across Europe, helping to ensure that consumers get a perfectly ripe fruit. We offer retailers an insight into competitors in terms of what is going on in the market and on the High Street.