Global Avocado Trade Set to Keep Growing on Latin American Supply

Published May 17, 2023
With a current global market worth USD 18 billion, the avocado trade is forecasted to continue to grow in the next few years. With global avocado consumption skyrocketing, the demand for the so-called green gold has increased to the point where the cost of the fruit has been pushed upwards, making it one of the most profitable crops today. Avocados' high profitability has largely benefited avocado producers worldwide. Latin American producers have all expanded their avocado output, accounting for 75% of all global output, and it is forecasted that the region will lead the global supply in the coming years.

According to the World Avocado Trade Map report recently published by Rabobank, the avocado trade will continue to grow in the next few years. However, the market will be more competitive, forcing operators to be more efficient and increasingly sustainable. The report examines global avocado production, consumption, and trade during the last decade, from 2012 to 2022.

With global avocado consumption skyrocketing and leading production and trade in the same upward trajectory, the global avocado market is now worth about USD 18 billion. Behind a decade of accelerated growth, increasing demand for fresh avocados has pushed the cost of the fruit upwards, making it a premium product in some markets. As a result, the highly desirable fruit has gained significant interest from producers and suppliers who have benefited from the profitable crop over the last decade.

Global avocado production expanded by about 7% during the past decade by offering a year-round supply to consumers. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecast, avocado production by 2030 will amount to 12 million mt tons, which will triple the production achieved in 2010. Of this volume, up to 3.9 million mt will be exported, surpassing pineapple and mango exports as the most marketed fruit in 2030.

Latin America currently produces 75% of all avocados in the global market worldwide. Countries like Mexico and Colombia have more than doubled their volumes in the last decade. By 2030, due to the region's favorable growth conditions, it is estimated that about 74% of production will remain in Latin America and the Caribbean, making it a key region for fresh avocado global supply.

Source: Tridge, FAO

Mexico, which currently accounts for 30% of the global avocado production, grew its global production share by 6% during the past decade. Mexican producers have enjoyed great success in increasing their volumes from 1.31 million mt in 2012 to approximately 2.2 million mt in 2022. According to the Rabobank report, Mexico will see an annual growth of 5.2% over the next ten years due to the continued growth of US demand. Mexico is also expected to increase its share of world exports to 63% by 2030, despite growing competition from emerging exporters such as Peru, Colombia, and Kenya.

While production in Mexico extends year-round, it reaches a seasonal low in June and July, when production peaks in California and Peru, which have been able to provide a steady supply to the US market on an extended season window. As a result, increased avocado production in countries with complementary harvesting seasons allows year-round availability in key importing markets, including the US, EU, and some Asian markets.

Colombia, the second-largest avocado producer, has increased its global production share by 15% over the last decade. Colombia has almost tripled its production in just five years, going from 310 thousand mt in 2015 to 877 thousand mt in 2020. According to Rabobank’s forecast, Colombian avocado production will soon surpass African and Asia production.

In the case of Peru, the country has increased its global production share by 12% during the last decade. Peru went from producing 268.5 thousand mt in 2012 to producing 777 thousand mt in 2021.

The main export market for all Latam countries remains the US, where consumption has increased constantly in recent years. Although the US was among the global largest producers of avocado in 2012, it was not included in the top 10 leading producing countries by 2021. As a result, US avocado imports have exponentially increased, with larger volumes year after year from mainly Latin American suppliers.

Lastly, Rabobank’s World Avocado Trade Map report also refers to the issue of sustainability in the avocado industry. Sustainable practices, especially with regard to water usage, have become a central factor for producers, exporters, importers, and consumers of avocados globally.

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