Avocado fans are a special sect of food lovers -- vocal about their obsession, always trying to prove they love guacamole more than the next person. Their advocacy might be working, because the Mexican Hass avocado industry is currently exploding in the U.S.
In 2005, the total volume of avocados sold in the U.S. was 802,976,829 pounds. In 2011, that number jumped to 1,137,749,941 pounds, representing a 42 percent increase over six years. As of 2011, avocados from Mexico make up 61 percent of the U.S. market share -- the total volume of avocados from Mexico sold in the U.S. in 2011 has more than doubled in six years.
In addition to the avocado evangelists, there are certainly other factors responsible for this increase in avocado consumption. The various avocado industries in the U.S. spend $40 million to educate American consumers about the product. That means health education, recipe guides and more. Perhaps you noticed avocados being plugged as a healthy ingredient in The Biggest Loser?
One noticeable growth area for avocados has been seen in the fast food sector, which companies from Au Bon Pain to Burger King adding the product to menus. "We're just so pleased with fast food and restaurants getting on board with a fresh product," Mike Brown, Chairman of the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association told The Huffington Post.
Before the late 1990s, the main supplier for Hass avocados was California, which didn't have a year-round growing season. As more and more areas of Mexico have been certified to supply the U.S., there are now enough avocados for chains to keep the product on the menu year-round. "It's a value-builder for retailers and for food service establishments," says Brown. Although avocados are seldom the center of the plate, Brown believes that they make a great complementary item.
While the avocado industry targets certain consumers -- housewives, sports enthusiasts, households with income above $50,000 -- there is a general consumption increase across all demographics. Unlike 20 years ago, when avocados were coming from California, the produce is no longer seasonal. "We've woken up the East Coast," says Brown.
Brown doesn't expect this avocado growth explosion to be temporary, either. While Mexico eats about 20 pounds of avocados per capita, Americas are only consuming around five pounds per capita. "We could literally be four times the growth," he believes. "Especially with the buying power of the American consumer."
Photo from Flickr: threelayercake