The US Imports Record Number of Avocados
According to data from the USDA, US imports of conventional Mexican avocados reached a record monthly volume of 277.63 million pounds in March 2023. This figure represents the highest volume of US avocado imports since January 2018.
For the first four months of 2023, Mexican avocados accounted for 95.5% of total US imports, making Mexico the leading avocado supplier to the US market. Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic accounted for 3.6% and Colombia 0.7% of imports, while Peru and Chile provided only 0.1% each.
High import volume doesn’t affect avocado prices
During the first four months of 2023, the United States imported 972.33 million pounds of Mexican avocados. This figure represents an increase of 33.0% compared to the same period last year when imports were 730.94 million pounds.
Despite the increase in supply, there has been no corresponding decrease in avocado prices. According to the USDA, imported Mexican avocados packaged in 2-layer cartons cost $23.30 in January and $24.56 in February. In March and April, prices reached $29.52 and $28.74 respectively.
The price of Mexican avocados on the domestic market has also been unaffected. According to the National System of Market Information in Mexico (SNIIM), the average cost per pound for first-quality Hass avocado was $1.07 and $1.02 in January and February and $1.07 and $1.14 in March and April.
Despite the increase in imports, the volume of Mexican avocados (conventional and organic) shipped to the United States decreased from 292.5 to 213.59 million pounds from March to April. This reduction in volume could allow prices to remain stable and not fall. In addition, historically, July, August and September are the months when the US avocado imports are lowest.
Peru is about to begin shipments to the US
In recent years, Peru exported low volumes of avocados to the US in March, April and May. Export volumes then increase from June to September before dropping back down in October.
However, data show that during the first quarter of 2023, Peru exported a total of 77.6 million pounds of avocados, which was a 53% increase compared to the same period in the previous year.
Because this is the low period for US imports from Peru, this product was most likely shipped to Europe, a major market for Peruvian avocados.
In the case of Chile and Colombia, their avocado shipments to the United States are low compared to Peru since most of their exports are also destined for Europe.
Sources: USDA, SNIIM, Informador, Produce Blue Book