As demand for the popular buttery fruit grows, avocado sales in China are expected to more than double in 2018. Between health-conscious adults and trend-sensitive millennials, avocados are quickly becoming more in demand throughout China. While the United States remains the largest market for avocado imports, producers and distributors are now paying close attention to China.
“The Chinese market has been growing at a very fast pace," Ramon Paz, an advisor for the Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Mexico, told CNBC. "Our numbers show big growth.” While Paz noted that China’s numbers remain relatively modest (76 million pounds of avocados were shipped last season to the country) when compared with areas like the United States, he said “the potential is huge."
Citing demand from "urban consumers," Paz’s assurance of the Chinese avocado market is largely based in millennials who’ve traveled outside of the country to places where avocado is served regularly and considered trendy.
While the United States is a priority for Mexican avocado exporters (Paz told CNBC that Mexico is in the midst of shipping what will be a total of 1.8 billion pounds of avocados to the United States during the current season, which runs from July 2017 to June 2018) other countries, like Japan and parts of Europe have a sizable demand for the fruit.
Because of shorter transportation time, avocado-exporting countries in Latin America like Chile, Peru, and Mexico are currently still inclined to keep the United States a priority. However, Steve Barnard, president of Mission Produce, a major California-based avocado distributor, said that as Chinese demand increases, it could someday make the product less available or more expensive to consumers within the United States. "The Chinese pay pretty good,” he said to CNBC. “You get a premium."
On the other hand, China may have its own plans to solve their desire for avocados. To reduce spending on imports, China has plans to begin growing native avocado crops, but according to Paz, that is unlikely to happen any time soon.
Despite the rise in avocado's popularity in China, as long as people in the United States remain obsessed with the fruit (demand grows 10-12 percent per year according to Raz) no one should worry that will cause an avo toast shortage.